Madrid, Nov 26 : Real Madrid entertain Paris Saint-Germain(PSG) on Tuesday night in the Champions League in a game the Spanish side needs to win in order to assure qualification for the competition's knockout phase.
The reality is both sides should have no problem sealing their places in the last 16 given the weakness of Club Brugge and Galatasaray - the other two teams in the group. However, a win for Brugge in Turkey on Tuesday allied to a victory for PSG in the Santiago Bernabeu would leave Zinedine Zidane's side needing to avoid defeat in Belgium in the final group game.
Madrid have improved considerably in their last two La Liga matches and now look a lot more compact and effective than the team which lost 3-0 in Paris earlier in the season. The decision to use Federico Valverde in midfield has given more stability to Zidane's side, while Karim Benzema is in arguably the best form of his life and Eden Hazard is starting to find his feet at the club.
The big question mark over Tuesday's game is whether or not Gareth Bale will start after his impressive cameo in Saturday's 3-1 win against Real Sociedad. Bale was booed by the Madrid fans as he ran onto the pitch and nearly every time he touched the ball, but in 25 minutes he helped set up one goal, almost set up another and went close to scoring.
If fully fit, Zidane could put the Welshman in the starting 11, but fitness is always an issue with Bale, and he didn't train on Sunday, raising doubts about his availability on Tuesday.
Many eyes will be on PSG stars Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, with both players having been linked with moves to Real Madrid over the past few months.
Madrid appeared to flirt with the idea of trying to sign Neymar over the summer, while the press insist Mbappe is Los Merengues' main target for 2020. A good performance from the French international would only serve to confirm that possibility, although it could cause a few nervous moments in the Bernabeu. (XINHUA)