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Dublin: 12°C Friday 14 May 2021

Champions League Preview: Tottenham prepare for Real test

Paul Ring has been suffering from withdrawal symptoms due to the recent lack of European football. He tells us what to expect from this evening’s games.

Image: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

Real Madrid v Tottenham

How did they get here?

TOTTENHAM TOPPED GROUP A by one point from defending champions Inter Milan. The two games between the sides were the most memorable from the group stages with Gareth Bale giving Maicon a good old fashioned skinning in both games.

Spurs were not content with just beating the blue half of Milan; they knocked out the red in A.C in the last 16. A fantastic 1-0 win in the San Siro proved to be decisive after a goalless draw in the second leg at White Hart Lane.

Real breezed through group G, topping it with 16 points and making light work of the likes of Ajax.

They ended their last 16 hoodoo and banished their Lyon blues in one foul swoop. A 1-1 draw in France was followed by a very impressive 3-0 win at the Bernebeu.

What do I need to know?

Jose Mourinho lost his 151 game; four club unbeaten home record to Sporting Gijon at the weekend. Sid Lowe of the Guardian dissects it here.

Lowe also spoke to Madrid full-back Alvaro Arebola last Friday.

Guillem Balague spoke to Spurs flier Gareth Bale on Monday.

Jose was delivering the injury updates in Monday’s press conference. Take with a pinch of salt.

The Telegraph’s Duncan White profiles the two opposing managers here.

Probable teams

Real Madrid: Casillas, Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo, Kedheria, Alonso, Ozil, Di Maria, Ronaldo, Adebayor.

Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Gallas, Assoit-Ekotto, Sandro, Modric, Lennon, Bale, Van Der Vaart, Crouch.

Key man

Cristiano Ronaldo. Stating the obvious but the Portuguese is far and away the most important player in white. If he is sufficiently fit and playing at something close to his maximum then he could end the tie tonight if he wishes. Spurs will be doing very well to contain him.


Spurs have the players and more importantly the pace to hurt Real on the break. But the power the Spaniards possess in their forward line added to the injury concerns surrounding William Gallas will probably mean Madrid goals and almost then certainly mean Spurs needing to score one.


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Inter Milan v Schalke 04.

How did they get here?

Inter as mentioned finished runners-up to Spurs in group A. There were mitigating circumstances though. Such as having Rafa Benitez as manager.

They had recovered enough under Leonardo to knock out Bayern Munich after an epic encounter at the Allianz Arena. Goran Pandev was the hero with the winner in the dying seconds.

Schalke topped a very ordinary group B, gaining 13 points from a possible 18.

They edged out Valencia in the last sixteen.

What do I need to know?

Schalke’s giant keeper Manuel Neuer believes the Germans can look to history for inspiration.

Their coach Raif Rangnick believes Inter will be fired up having lost the Milan derby.

Four Four Two excellent Serie Aggghh! blog cuts right through that derby to give you a sense of where Inter are.

Wesley Sneijder is looking forward to facing old team-mate Raul.

Probable teams

Inter Milan: Caesar, Maicon, Cordoba, Ranocchia, Zanetti, Cambiassio, Motta, Sneijder, Pandev, Eto’o, Milito.

Schalke 04: Neuer, Ucida, Howedes, Scharpei, Schewiz, Kluge, Papadopoulos, Farfan, Baumjohann, Raul, Gavranovic

Key man

Ivan Cordoba. In the absence of Lucio Cordoba needs to seriously step up in performance to cover the absence of the Brazilian. Cordoba has struggled in recent months and his central defensive partner Ranocchia does not have a lot of experience at this level. With the champions league record goalscorer Raul sniffing around the two centre-half’s will have to be on their game.


It is difficult to see how Schalke can match up to the reigning European champions. While Inter are nothing like the force they were last year they should have enough class in the likes of Eto’o and Sneijder to take a decent lead to Germany.

Make sure to join us for our liveblog of this evening’s Champions League quarter-finals >

About the author:

Paul Ring

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