Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster has tipped his side to win away in the Champions League for the first time in eight attempts when they take on Zenit St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
It is nearly two years since Madrid last won away in the competition, but buoyed by a 2-1 victory at Real Betis on Saturday, Schuster arrived in Russia full of confidence.
“Our last two away wins in the Liga showed our power and high fitness levels, but of course I’m expecting a tough game,” he said. “Zenit lost their first game and with the support of their fans they will be desperate to win.”
“Zenit are a very quick and tactically clever team,” said the German, who is without the injured Guti, Fernando Gago and Wesley Sneijder and has left Christoph Metzelder and Míchel Salgado in Madrid.
Zenit coach Dick Advocaat is predicting a tight match and warns his side they cannot afford to waste the few chances that may come their way.
“We have to play our football and try to surprise them,” he said.
The Zenit trainer is boosted by the news defender Roman Shirokov has returned to training and could play, while striker Fatih Tekke is available after a thigh complaint. Both are likely substitutes. However, defender Ivica Križanac is omitted for the second successive match.
“It is my decision,” was all Advocaat would say on the matter.
Of Schuster, Advocaat added: “He uses a rotation system and I think he will make two changes, but it doesn’t bother us who starts as they have lots of great players. Real are the favourites in our group. The other teams are battling for the remaining places.”