PREVIEW. 09/05/2023. Alberto Navarro
Real Madrid are just two games away from the Champions League final in Istanbul on 10 June. But they are two extremely difficult ones. Manchester City stand in the Whites' way, and tonight they face the first leg of the semi-final at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium (9pm CET).
The madridistas go into the game on the back of their victory in the Copa del Rey on Saturday and in the knowledge that any mistake might put you out against the Premier League leaders. The tie's final chapter will take place next Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.
100% home record in Champions League
Madrid will be aiming to gain an advantage for the second leg, and the Santiago Bernabéu will certainly play a decisive role in this, as the European champions will be hoping to defend their title. Indeed, Ancelotti's men have won their last six home games in the competition (all five this season and last season's semi-final against Manchester City).
Video.Huge night of Champions League action at the Bernabéu
“The plan is to get the best out of what we have physically, mentally, motivationally and technically", said Ancelotti in the press conference ahead of the clash. Meanwhile, Kroos highlighted his team’s rich vein of form ahead of the clash: “I’m confident in our experience and in how we handle these games”. The midfielder is part of the Madrid squad for the match, alongside Benzema. On Saturday, the Frenchman moved level with Marcelo as the player with the most trophies in our club’s history, and he goes into the game after scoring in his last three outings at the Bernabéu.
Manchester City, the third Premier League club to face our team in this year's Champions League knock-out stages, will be a stern test for Ancelotti's side. The Premier League leaders and FA Cup finalists are probably in their best form of the season and have gone 20 games unbeaten, winning 17 of them.
They have already scored 138 goals this season (42 conceded) and 51 of them have been netted by Haaland, their top scorer. A gruelling semi-final tie is in store with the final on 10 June at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium is at stake.