lost their opening UEFA Champions League fixture a fortnight ago, Real
Madrid CF coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo believes only victory will suffice
when Greek champions Olympiacos CFP visit the Santiago Bernabéu on
Absentees in attack
Luxemburgo has two major absentees for the Group F game, with Zinedine
Zidane still missing with a groin strain and Ronaldo completing a
two-match suspension. Guti will again stand in for Zidane, while either
Julio Baptista or Robinho will spearhead Madrid's attack in the absence
of their fellow Brazilian forward. Elsewhere, reserve goalkeeper Diego
López is back from a fractured finger as Madrid look to bounce back from
the demoralising 3-0 Matchday 1 defeat at Olympique Lyonnais.
'We have to win'
"Whether we play well or not, we have to win this game," Luxemburgo said.
"We must call on all our fans to create the right atmosphere, as this is
like a final. My players are not brimming with confidence but they
understand that they have the responsibility of putting in a decent
Iker Casillas echoed those words, adding that consecutive Primera
División wins against Athletic Club Bilbao and Deportivo Alavés have
boosted morale. "This is a chance to start afresh. After losing to Lyon
this will be an opportunity to get back in the running and whoever loses
will take a big step backwards," he said. "Olympiacos are in a similar
position - they have yet to pick up a point. Perhaps we have not been
creating many clear chances of late, but we must be clinical when they
According to the home coach, Madrid must be extra vigilant against an
Olympiacos team who are "solid at the back and lethal on the break". "They
have highly-experienced players and can cause harm from set-pieces," he
said. For this reason, Madrid centre-backs Sergio Ramos, Iván Helguera
and Jonathan Woodgate devoted extra time in training to defending high
balls into the penalty box.
'You never know'
Luxemburgo's opposite number Trond Sollied is all too aware of the task
facing his side, who are yet to win a Champions League match outside
Athens in 25 attempts and have lost on seven of nine visits to Spain. "Playing
Madrid at their ground is always difficult but we will be trying not to
disappoint," said Sollied, whose charges lost 3-1 at home to Rosenborg
BK two weeks ago. "Even though past encounters have not been favourable
for us, you never know what might happen."
Centre-back Georgios Anatolakis and midfielder Ieroklis Stoltidis are
back in the squad after being rested for Saturday's 2-0 triumph against
Akratitos FC, although Sollied will not decide on his starting XI till
the morning of the game. "We will be doing light training to get all the
tiredness from travelling out of our system and make our team selection
based on Wednesday's session," he explained.
Having faced Madrid many times with FC Barcelona, Olympiacos's Brazilian
playmaker Rivaldo is under no illusions about the challenge ahead. "I
know exactly how difficult it is to beat Madrid from my time at
Barcelona," he said. "Of course we have great respect for them – they
are an incredible side with brilliant players – but that does not mean
we are afraid of them. Under the circumstances, we would be happy to
come away with a draw, but if the chance to steal a win arises, we will