12 February, 2013 - 14:36

Champions League last-16 round preview: Real Madrid vs Man Utd, Shakhtar vs Dortmund

Champions League last-16 round preview: Real Madrid vs Man Utd, Shakhtar vs Dortmund

This clash between Man Utd and Real Madrid is undoubtedly the one everybody has been anticipating since the beginning of the Champions’ League season 2012-2013. The tension and intrigue surrounds this exciting fixture: Mourinho vs Ferguson, Robin van Persie vs Cristiano Ronaldo, etc.

Almost a decade ago Real Madrid and Man Utd were drawn in the semi-finals and the Spanish side has beaten the Mancunians 6-5 on aggregate in two remarkable games which saw Ronaldo scoring hat-trick, Raul and Beckham bagging the braces.

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Real Madrid recent form:

This is the last chance for Mourinho of winning the trophy this season with Real Madrid, as they have but a glimmer of hope of retaining La Liga title this season after Barcelona has opened up a commanding a 12-point lead at the top of the table (third-placed Real Madrid are 16 points off the top).

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Real Madrid team news:

The Meringues have been given the huge boost with the news that both Marcelo and Pepe have recovered from the injuries and will be ready to feature in the Wednesday’s match. Although they will certainly miss the creativity and dynamics of Di Maria, Mourinho is likely to push Benzema onto the left wing while Higuain would be playing up front. Real Madrid skipper Casillas is the only serious loss – the goalkeeper is sidelined for about a month with a hand injury. Without any doubts in-form Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been recently posing for the photographs in a company of Real Madrid legendary players, will be the key figure of the clash. Sir Alex Ferguson like no one knows the ability of the talented winger and will do his utmost to restrain him.

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Recent Manchester United form:

Man Utd have marched 12 points clear in the Premier League title chase after Man City suffered humiliating 3-1 defeat at the hands of Southampton. It is to be recalled that Fergie has been fuming with the playing schedule, requiring Man Utd playing the game against Everton just three days before the Champions’ League encounter against Real Madrid. However that seems to be a clever ploy ahead of the tough game in Madrid – should the Red Devils lose then the factor of the tiredness would be blamed for the defeat. However the tiredness is by no means an excuse for the Red Devils in Madrid. It’s as simple as that: if you set winning the Champions’ League title as your priority, then rest players for the Sunday’s clash against Everton.

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Manchester United team news:

Ferguson has also few injury problems to deal with, as Ashley Young will be for sure out of the Wednesday’s encounter while Evans and Jones are a major doubt after picking up injuries in the Premier League game against Everton. It is likely that Fergie includes ageing and yet reliable defensive duo Vidic and Ferdinand in his starting line-up. No prize for guessing who Sir Alex plays up front – Van Persie and Rooney are arguably the best attacking pair in the world at the moment.

Footballtop.com prediction: Real Madrid 2-2 Manchester United

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Shakhtar Donetsk vs Borussia Dortmund

Too bad, that one of two teams playing the most attractive attacking football will not make it through to the Champions’ League quarter-finals. On the other hand we will undoubtedly witness one of the most entertaining Champions League games of the season 2012-2013 on Wednesday. Shakhtar has provided excellent display of attacking football to see off the threat of Champions’ League title holders Chelsea. Borussia Dortmund managed to progress from the Group of Death beating mighty Real Madrid and moneybags Manchester City in the process.

Recent Shakhtar Donetsk form:

It is difficult to say whether Shakhtar would be able to maintain their impressive Champions League run of form, as they have not been participating in competitive matches since December. They have also lost arguably their best player Willian, who was lured by a lucrative offer of free-spending Russian side Anzhi. It is remains to be seen whether the new signing Taison would do that well up front.

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Recent Borussia Dortmund form:

Borussia Dortmund have been playing unconvincing in recent Bundesliga games, as compared to their remarkable Champions’ League results. They have secured a crucial 3-2 win over Bayer, and then suffered shocking 4-1 defeat at the hands of Hamburg. Borussia brightest star Lewandowski could not cope with his emotions and earned an early bath in the clash against Hamburg.

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Sure enough both games will be joy to behold.

Footballtop.com prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk 2-3 Borussia Dortmund

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Author: Basil Naumov

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