Real Madrid v Wolfsburg: Zidane bullish on comeback hopes
A bullish Zinedine Zidane has warned Wolfsburg that his Real Madrid team can "achieve anything" ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Wolfsburg stunned Madrid in last week's first meeting, running out 2-0 winners thanks to Ricardo Rodriguez's penalty and Maximilian Arnold's well-taken finish in the first half.
Zidane cited fatigue as a reason for his side's below-par display at Volkswagen Arena, with Madrid's trip to Germany coming just four days after their energy-sapping Clasico victory over Barcelona.
However, the Frenchman - who made eight changes to his starting XI for Saturday's 4-0 La Liga rout of Eibar - insists Madrid are ready to launch an assault on Wolfsburg's lead as they bid to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the sixth season in a row.
"We'll have to increase our level - we are fully aware that we are two goals behind, and we know we'll play a complicated game," Zidane told the media after the victory over Eibar.
"But I'd like to say that we are able to achieve anything. During the season we were not always at our best, but we are also able to achieve great things.
"What we need to do first is get some rest - we'll prepare on Monday, and we do not have much time to do so.
"We are not going to work much but will choose the team and the strategy that is best against Wolfsburg. There is not too much to consider - we just need to be focused.
"We need to be on our game straight away, like we did today and usually are at home."
Madrid head into Tuesdays' match in high spirits, with their Clasico win at Camp Nou and Barca's subsequent slip-up at Real Sociedad on Saturday - coupled with their own win over Eibar - reigniting the Liga title race. Zidane's men now sit just four points adrift of Barca with six league games remaining.
The Eibar victory also featured yet another milestone for Cristiano Ronaldo, who became the first player to net 30 La Liga goals in six straight seasons. The Madrid superstar is also this season's top scorer in the Champions League, with 13 goals in just nine appearances.
Wolfsburg, meanwhile, are languishing in eighth in the Bundesliga, with a 1-1 draw with Mainz on Saturday dealing another blow to their faint hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League.
Dieter Hecking's team are now winless in their last four league outings, and the coach blamed "tired minds" after they failed to hold a lead given to them by Andre Schurrle's goal early in the second half against Mainz.
Key Opta stats:
- In 15 previous instances of teams losing 2-0 away from home in the first leg of a Champions League game, only twice have sides managed to progress - Barcelona in February 2013 (v AC Milan) and Manchester Utd in February 2014 (v Olympiacos).
- Real Madrid have won 29 of their last 34 Champions League games at the Bernabeu (D3 L2).
- Madrid are the only team yet to concede a goal at home in the Champions League this season.
- Wolfsburg – who are in the quarter-finals of Europe’s top club competition for the first time in their history – have won their last five Champions League games, their best ever run and the longest current streak among teams left in the competition.