What: UEFA Champions League – Group B
Who: Real Madrid vs FC Copenhagen
When: Wednesday 2nd October, 2013, at 19:45 UK Time
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
The honeymoon for coach Carlo Ancelotti seems to be over at Real Madrid. Off the back of a controversial victory over former second division side Elche, a response was hoped for against Atletico Madrid in the Madrid derby. But the Italian manager’s men could not deliver against an in-form Rojiblancos side, losing their first league Derbi Madrileno since 1999/00. Luckily for Los Blancos however, they should be able to relax when they play host to Danish side FC Copenhagen, in a match that should on paper be a ticket towards making amends with their fans.
A substitute on the night against Atletico Madrid, winger Gareth Bale feels that his club must put their last setback behind them and focus on their upcoming European clash in order for them to improve, even if he will miss out himself.
“We try to win every match and now we don’t feel good, but we have to think about the next match that we have on Wednesday”, declared the former Southampton man.
The occasion will be the first time Real Madrid meet FC Copenhagen in official competition. Los Merengues have a good record against Danish sides, as they have recorded seven wins and a single draw in the last eight games versus teams from the Scandinavian country.
While FC Copenhagen managed to draw against Juventus in their maiden Champions League game of the new season, things will prove to be more difficult in Spain. With the Scandinavian side playing away from home against a team who will undoubtedly be looking for their scalp from the first minute, the task appears to be a sizeable one for the reigning Danish champions.
However, many wrote them off against Juventus before the game had even started, and should they put on a similar display then the Santiago Bernabeu crowd could be in for a surprise.
FC Copenhagen might be the champions of Denmark, but the Lions have had a tough start to the season domestically: With just two wins after ten league games, Stale Solbakken’s men are second bottom in the Superliga standings.
Their luck against Spanish opposition has been poor, as FC Copenhagen have not managed a win in eight meetings against such teams. The side's record in Spain shows two wins and two losses, with the last of such meetings taking place at the Camp Nou against Barcelona in the 2010/11 campaign. The game ended 2-0 in favour of the Catalan side.
Real Madrid 4-1 Getafe (22/09; La Liga)
Elche 1-2 Real Madrid (25/09; La Liga)
Real Madrid 0-1 Atletico Madrid (28/09; La Liga)
FC Copenhagen 2-1 OB (22/09; Superliga)
Hvidovre 2-4 FC Copenhagen (25/09; Superliga)
Brondby 3-2 FC Copenhagen (28/09; Superliga)
Real Madrid: Xabi Alonso; Marcelo; Gareth Bale
FC Copenhagen: Kris Staadsgard
Players to watch
Real Madrid – Iker Casillas: The Spanish legend will be handed playing minutes as he is confirmed to be Ancelotti’s choice for Europe’s prestigious competition. Having lasted just 15 minutes in the team’s last game against Galatasaray, he will be hoping for better luck this time around to push to regain his spot in La Liga matches.
FC Copenhagen – Olof Mellberg: The veteran defender will have to be on his toes at the Bernabeu as Ancelotti will instruct his side to go all-out against FC Copenhagen. His adversaries will undoubtedly be in control of possession on the night, and Mellberg will need to use his vast experience to hold off the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Isco.
Every Real Madrid fan will be hoping to see the team make an example of FC Copenhagen. The Danish side have stuttered recently, while Real Madrid will want to show the world that they are amongst the best teams around and record another big victory after thrashing Galatasaray in Istanbul two weeks ago. Expect the home side to come out with a comfortable win. Real Madrid 4-0 FC Copenhagen.
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