Despite their remarkable form in La Liga, Real Madrid face a tough trip to Russia this week as once again Los Blancos are overwhelming odds on favourites with Paddy Power as they take on CSKA Moscow tonight in the Champions League.
The Spanish giants have earned nine wins in their last ten outings, only dropping points against league rivals Barcelona in December.
Russia is never an easy place to go, with the freezing temperatures often providing a considerable obstacle for some continental player accustomed to warmer climates as this game has been moved to the artificial surface of Luzhniki Stadium.
Los Blancos qualified for the Round of 16 with a perfect win ratio in Group D, having knocked Lyon, Ajax and Dinamo Zagreb out of the competition.
Scoring an average of 4.08 goals this season when playing at the Santiago Bernabeu, it doesn’t take a genius to see that Jose Mourinho’s side have the potential for dazzling attacks. However, CSKA Moscow have some attacking threats of their own, not the least of which comes Seydou Doumbia, who has scored five goals in five Champions League appearances this season.
That being said, the Russian outfit are still expected to be without attackers Keisuke Honda and Vagner Love, who are struggling with injuries.
Real will be hoping to take advantage of Russia’s off-season break on Tuesday and despite CSKA’s friendly against Shakhtar Donetsk earlier this month, Leonis Slutsky’s side will undoubtedly be rusty. Los Blancos do have a good history of trips to Russia, with victories over Lokomotiv Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg recently.
The Madrid outfit will go into the fixture as favourites, however the leaders of the Spanish top flight still face the difficult task of acquiring away goals in Russia in the first-leg of their Champions League tie against CSKA Moscow.
Mourinho has few injury worries, Lassana Diarra and Angel di Maria will both miss the trip through injury but other than that Real should field a very strong side at the capacity packed Luzhniki Stadium.