We're now entering the business end of the Champions League group stage and Real Madrid couldn't be any more handily placed. Our team heads into the Matchday 5 encounter against Sheriff in Tiraspol sitting top of Group D (9pm CET) and a win would see Carlo Ancelotti's men mathematically secure a place in the last 16.
Both teams will go into the game knowing the result of the meeting between the other two sides in the group and, provided that Inter fail to win, the madridistas will have the chance to claim top spot. The Whites can't afford to be complacent and have first-hand experience of the hosts' ability and will have to reproduce the sort of performance seen last time out in the rout over Granada.
Video.Time to clinch last-16 spot
"The aim is to win the game, close out the group and progress", stated Ancelotti in his pre-match press conference. Thibaut Courtois, who features in the madridista squad list for the encounter, also faced the media and he insisted that, “We're going to try and put in a good performance and progress”.
Sheriff Tiraspol have a range of possibilties in terms of their position in the group. Yuriy Vernydub's troops are lying in third with six points to their name and harbour dreams of a last-16 spot and could yet qualify as group winners. They would currently qualify for the Europa League, but mustn't take their eye off the ball because they could be dumped out if they fail to pick up any more points and Shakhtar win both of their games.