Real Madrid set for Champions League

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> For Wednesday's (28/9) Group F game against Olympiacos, Real will be hampered by the continued absence of the inspirational Zinedine Zidane.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:49 IST
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Everybody knows that French club has made massive advances over the last few years. But still, the manner of Real Madrid's defeat at Olympique Lyonnais in their Champions League opener raised more than a few eyebrows. One of the perennial favourites for European honours, the Spanish giants were thrashed 3-0 in France on the 13th of September. They have to bounce back immediately. Decisive match But for Wednesday's (28/9) Group F game against Olympiacos, Real will be hampered by the continued absence of the inspirational Zinedine Zidane due to a groin strain. And Ronaldo will be completing a two-match suspension. "No, we are not hopeful. We trust ourselves but we have the responsibility to play a great match. We have to respect Olympiacos and their players as they are playing well in their league in Greece. "It is decisive for us. If we want to pass to the next round we must play decisively in the Bernabeu. We play in our home, with our fans. Our fans live the match I'm sure that It is going to be a great match," said Vanderlei Luxemburgo, Real Madrid coach. The situation is critical, as goalkeeper Iker Casillas is only too aware. "At the moment, we haven't got any points. It is a fact that if we don't win we'll be in a complicated situation. I think they (Olympiacos) are coming to play a great match, to beat Real Madrid as all teams when they play in the Bernabeu. For the team that doesn't win it will be very complicated to pass to the next round," said Iker. Positive factors There are however, a lot of factors in Real's favour. The presence of Rivaldo - formerly a great favourite at arch-rivals Barcelona -isn't one of them. The Brazilian is still capable of tormenting defences. But as for his current colleagues, they are notoriously poor travellers, having yet to record an away win in 25 fixtures in the competition. "I have played a lot of times against Real Madrid and I know it is very difficult play against Real Madrid. It is a great team but we are not afraid, we respect Real Madrid because it is a great team and a great club. We have to play as the great Olympiacos team that we are," said Rivaldo, Olympiacos midfielder. And they also made a miserable start to their campaign, going down 3-1 at home to Rosenborg of Norway. One would expect Real to come through. Anything else would be a major shock. And probably move coach Luxemburgo a big step closer to the exit door at the Bernabeu. (AP)

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