Best Odds: 12/5
Instant progression into the next stage of the Champions League is at stake both for Roma and Real Madrid ahead of their Tuesday’s encounter at the Stadio Olimpico. With a close to the identical record, the Italians and Spaniard have domestic disappointments to bounce back from and we’ll possibly be in for a highly entertaining match.
The Giallorossi have been going through a purple patch of late, losing only twice in their last 11 matches in all competitions. One of those defeats came at the hands of Udinese (1-0) this last weekend which marked a disappointing end of the international break for Eusebio Di Francesco’s men.
Having won their last three Champions League matches, Roma will be keen to continue the trend and make sure to qualify to the elimination stage of the competition. The Italians are sitting at the summit of Group G thanks to a slightly more favourable goal difference compared to Real Madrid who also have nine points to their name. The Stadio Olimpico side are taking the forthcoming clash very seriously but Di Francesco’s decision to rest his first-team stars at the weekend in order to have them fully fit for the midweek clash backfired at Udinese. Roma have had plenty of problems at the beginning of the season but seem to have found the perfect formula and are a versatile team that can hurt Real Madrid from a number of positions. Much will depend on the squad selection but Di Francesco should have the strongest line-up available.
Edin Dzeko is set to return to the starting XI after starting on the bench this weekend. Di Francesco will be sweating over the fitness of Kostas Manolas whose knee injury kept him on the sidelines last time out.
Midfielder Daniele De Rossi remains unavailable while Javier Pastore and Diego Perotti will be given a late fitness test to determine their availability.
Santiago Solari was given a rude awakening from his Real Madrid honeymoon as Los Blancos suffered an embarrassing defeat at Eibar this weekend. Real Madrid’s close-to-full-strength side has been outclassed and outperformed by a La Liga peripheral side and a 3-0 defeat will not have been the ideal introduction into the Champions League midweek.
Real Madrid travel to Rome hoping to repeat the result achieved in September when Los Blancos emerged 3-0 victors but such a result would be considered a huge achievement at this point in the season. Los Blancos have gone through a major dip in form since September and had a managerial change as well. Solari kicked off his Real Madrid tenure with a four-match winning streak but he was also given a huge reality check on Saturday. The Madrid-based giants will need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible and their away record against Roma will give some inspiration and motivation. Real Madrid won four of their last five trips to the Italian capital and will surely push for another triumph.
Keylor Navas returned to training following a knee injury but is not expected to take over from clearly indisposed Thibaut Courtois.
Nacho and Casemiro remain out of contention, while Marcelo is expected to keep his place after returning to the fold at the weekend.
Key Factors to Consider
- Whoever wins will secure qualification into the next round of the competition
- Real Madrid won 4 of their last 5 matches at Stadio Olimpico
- Both Roma and Real Madrid suffered defeats at the weekend
- Giallorossi lost only 2 of their last 11 matches in all competitions
- Los Blancos failed to score only once in their last 32 Champions League matches
Direct qualification into the next stage of the Champions League is at stake and both Roma and Real Madrid will have plenty to fight for at the Stadio Olimpico. Giallorossi are seeking revenge for the 3-0 defeat in the reverse game at Santiago Bernabeu whereas Los Blancos are looking for a swift return to winning ways after a frustrating 3-0 loss at Eibar. With little separating the two sides at the moment it may all come down to moments of inspiration, and (home) support.
Best Odds: 12/5
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