Real confident; Milan need a miracle in Champs League

Surprisingly, Real Madrid have not qualified for the Champions League quarterfinals since 2004, but are confident of doing so this time around.

Going into Wednesday’s return leg in the round of 16, the Spanish club, who have won the Champions League and its predecessor more often than any other club in Europe (nine times), are chasing a 1-0 deficit against French side Olympique Lyon.

On Sunday, Real managed to come back from two goals down against Sevilla to win 3-2 and move to the top of the La Liga.

Madrid will be without Xabi Alonso and Marcelo, who are suspended for the return leg. Veteran playmaker Guti will take Alonso’s place and he has said that it will be a failure if they do not go through.

“We have confidence and desire to turn the tables on a good rival. If they score then things will get complicated, but Real Madrid — with the signings that we have made this year and knowing that the final will be played here — has to be at a 100%.”

Lyon, who played to a disappointing goalless draw at Boulogne on the weekend, might be without striker Lisandro Lopez, who sat out the league match.

AC Milan, who are just two trophies behind Madrid in the all-time table, will need a minor miracle if they want to add an eighth title.

The Serie A side lost the first leg match 3-2 at home against Manchester United and need to win in England on Wednesday to progress.

Needing to score at least two goals, Milan coach Leonardo has to play an attacking formation and could start the match with Dutchman Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Marco Borriello upfront and Ronaldinho slightly behind them.

The Brazilian coach believes that his side still has a chance to go through.

“We have a great chance, an extraordinary one. We find ourselves playing at Old Trafford, having to win an important game there. We must play as we can, trying to score. It’s a wonderful opportunity. We have our style. We will try hard.”

Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson is concerned about forward Wayne Rooney’s fitness after the forward aggravated a knee injury in England’s 3-1 win over Egypt last week.

“Wayne is very doubtful for Wednesday. The Wembley pitch has killed him.”

If Rooney is unable to play, Ferguson could find himself with just two strikers.

Michael Owen is out for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury, Danny Welbeck out on loan at Preston and Federico Macheda is only just returning from a lengthy spell out, leaving Ferguson with just Dimitar Berbatov and Mame Biram Diouf.

The first two return leg matches on Tuesday see Bayern Munich and Porto defend 2-1 leads at Fiorentina and Arsenal respectively.

Fiorentina felt very hard done-by after poor refereeing in their first leg and are determined to turn things around.

Club owner Diego Della Valle displayed optimism after a 2-1 home defeat to Juventus at the weekend sank his side to an anonymous mid-table position.

“We go onto the pitch to win. If the boys have the grit they displayed in Munich, we will get some satisfaction,” he said.

Coach Cesare Prandelli will be without injured defender Alessandro Gamberini, Argentine midfielder Alberto Santana and Romanian striker Adrian Mutu who remains suspended after a positive dope test.

Bayern, meanwhile, managed only a 1-1 draw in Cologne on the weekend, but should have all players available for the trip to Italy and could give both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben a start against the Serie A side after both did not start the league game.

Possibly missing from Arsenal for their game against Porto is inspirational midfielder Cesc Fabregas after he strained a hamstring in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Burnley.

“Will I risk Fabregas? It depends how big the gamble is,” said manager Arsene Wenger. “I’m ready to take the gamble but, if it is more than 50% chance that his hamstring goes, I will not take it.

“He has a little chance of playing. Sol Campbell will be available [after a groin injury]; William Gallas, no,” Wenger said.

The other four matches will be played next week, with VfB Stuttgart travelling to Barcelona, Bordeaux at home to Olympiakos, Sevilla taking on CSKA Moscow and Chelsea trying to overturn a 2-1 deficit at home against Inter Milan. — Sapa-dpa

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