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Real Madrid aim to seal group leadership against Dynamo Zagreb

MADRID, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Real Madrid can assure they qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League as group leaders when they face Dynamo Zagreb on Tuesday night.

Jose Mourinho`s side take on the Croatian Champions knowing their 2-0 win in Lyon three weeks ago has already booked them a place in the knockout stages. However, they also know that it is better to win your group in order to play the return leg of the next round at home and also in order to avoid the most difficult sides in the draw.

Madrid won 1-0 in Zagreb earlier in the season in a physical match against a rival that was clearly motivated in front of their home fans. Since then, however, Dynamo have suffered in the competition and have little option of even qualifying for the Europa League.

That means Real Madrid`s rivals will either come to the Santiago Bernabeu to enjoy the experience and take pre-match photographs of the ground (as some teams have done in the past). If that happens, they are likely to suffer a heavy defeat.

The alternative is that the Croatians will look to salvage pride in one of the most emblematic grounds in the world, in which case Real Madrid could find themselves in for a tough night.

With Angel de Maria still out with a hamstring injury and Kaka recovering from a muscle problem, Mourinho could make changes to his side. Javier Callejon could get a chance on the wing, while Alvaro Arbeloa, who has performed well at right back, could be rested after leaving the pitch with a slight injury in Madrid`s important win in Valencia on Saturday night.

Arbeloa`s absence could either see Ramos move to right back and either Raul Albiol or Rafael Varene step in at center half, or Lassana Diarra could cover in defense as he did so effectively in Lyon.

The game also looks like a good moment for midfielder Nuri Sahin to continue his recovery from a knee injury, the Turk has made only one appearance since joining the club in the summer and this looks like the perfect moment for him to continue his return to full fitness. 

Editor: Deng Shasha
Date:2011-11-21 21:12:51     
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