Milan v Lokomotiv Moscow
The Ukrainian has a thigh injury, sustained in the 2-2 draw against Lazio on Sunday.
However, Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted his team could cope without the Ukrainian, stating: “We have a lot of options in attack and there are players ready to step in. No player in the team is irreplaceable.”
Anceolotti has admittted that he will not be taking tonight’s opponents lightly.
“There are no easy games in the Champions League and Lokomotiv have shown they are a good side,’ said the Milan coach.
‘We saw that against Real Madrid in Madrid when they got a draw in a game they could have won. They are very good defensively – they defend with all eleven players, and are powerful and quick on the counterattack. It will be a difficult game.”
Clarence Seedorf and Serginho are competing out for the left midfield spot.
Lokomotiv Moscow meanwhile have received a boost with the return of Sergei Ignashevichand Marat Izmailov. Defender Ignashevich is also fit after recovering from a fever while Izmailov – Russia’s Player of the Year for 2001 – is available after six months out.
Lokomotiv will have to cope without the suspended right-back Vadim Yevseyev and Nigerian striker James Obiorah, who misses out with a thigh injury.
Unfortunately for coach Yuri Semin, injuries are the least of his worries. Due to the midwinter break in Russia, his team are chronically short of match practise.
“There are several difficulties for us regarding this game and one of them is that we haven’t played a competitive match for two months,’ admitted Semin.
‘We have played friendlies but it is not the same thing. I am hoping my team will compensate for this with willpower. We have to see this game as a challenge rather than a problem.”
Milan: Dida, Simic, Nesta, Maldini, Kaladze, Ambrosini, Pirlo, Costa, Serginho or Seedorf, Rivaldo, Inzaghi.
Lokomotiv: Ovchinnikov, Nizhegorodov, Lekgetho, Ignashevich, Pashinin, Sennikov, Obradovic, Maminov, Loskov, Cesar, Pimenov.
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund
Real currently lie bottom of the group and if they are to begin justifying their billing as competition favourites, a win tonight is essential.
The Spanish team have a good record against German opposition with only two defeats – both by Bayern Munich – at home in 16 matches.
Real Madrid will be without captain Fernando Hierro for their remainder of the group phase after the veteran defender damaged knee ligaments. In his place comes Francisco Pavon, who will partner Ivan Helguera in the centre of defence.
“This is a key match,” said coach Vicente del Bosque.
“We want to defend our European title and we have to get a good result against Borussia. There is nothing decided in our group.”
For Borussia Dortmund, Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky is the only significant injury concern. The Czech playmaker strained his Achilles tendon in the 4-1 win against Bochum at the weekend.
Borussia Coach Mathias Sammer is hoping that his team do themselves justice tonght.
“We must not let ourselves be frozen with awe for Real and all their stars,” said Sammer.
“I’ll be hopping mad if we are. We have enough quality in this side.”
Real Madrid: Casillas, Salgado, Pavon, Helguera, Carlos, Figo, Cambiasso, Makelele, Zidane, Raul, Ronaldo.
Borussia Dortmund: Lehmann, Metzelder, Woerns, Madouni, Dede, Evanilson, Reuter, Frings, Rosicky, Koller, Amoroso.