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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions League: Real's Kroos back in squad, Fellaini ruled out

Champions League: Real's Kroos back in squad, Fellaini ruled out

Last updated on: September 25, 2017 20:38 IST

Kroos back in the squad as Real search first win in Dortmund

Toni Kroos

IMAGE: Toni Kroos, left, with team-mates. Photograph: Twitter

Germany midfielder Toni Kroos has eased Real Madrid's injury concerns and could be fit to play in their Champions League match at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, coach Zinedine Zidane said.

Real are already without injured Marcelo, Karim Benzema and Mateo Kovacic but Kroos is back in the squad after sitting out their 2-1 weekend win over Alaves in La Liga due to a rib injury.

 

"Toni Kroos is a very important player for us," Zidane told reporters on Monday. "He is looking good. We will see tomorrow if he is fit for the game."

Real have never won in Dortmund before, having lost three of six matches and drawn the other three. They are under additional pressure after their lacklustre start in the league, lying fifth on 11 points with rivals Barcelona top on 18.

"We are looking forward to playing in the Champions League in a very nice stadium, where you can breathe the Champions League," the Frenchman said.

"It is difficult to play everywhere, but it is true that we have never won here. It is a challenge for us."

The European champions were 3-0 winners against APOEL Nicosia in their group opener, but will need to improve their finishing against their tougher German opponents, Zidane added.

Bundesliga leaders Dortmund, who lost their opening group match at Tottenham Hotspur, have scored 19 goals in six league games, conceding just one. Real have netted 11 times in their six La Liga games, letting in six.

"I hope our strikers will score again," Zidane said. "But I have always maintained that it is the most important thing to create chances.

"We cannot be pleased with the amount of opportunities we have created lately. I believe in my players. But you have to show it every three days that you want to win the game. It is not always working out the way you want it to."

Fellaini ruled out of United clash in Moscow

Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini will miss Manchester United's Champions League game against CSKA Moscow on Wednesday.

Fellaini has not recovered from an ankle injury he suffered in a tackle by Shane Long in the 1-0 Premier League win over Southampton on Saturday and was not in the squad which departed for Russia on Monday.

Nemanja Matic, who also suffered an injury against Southampton, flew out with the rest of the squad along with defender Eric Bailly, who could make his Champions League debut for the club.

Fellaini scored United's opening goal in their 3-0 Champions League Group A victory over Basel this month.

United, who are unbeaten this season and are joint top of the Premier League with Manchester City, are in confident mood for Wednesday's tie although they will again be without Paul Pogba, who suffered a hamstring strain against Basel and could require surgery.

Spanish midfielder Juan Mata predicted United would face "a very difficult game" against CSKA, who impressed in beating Benfica 2-1 in their opening group game in Portugal.

"CSKA Moscow is a classic in European football," Mata wrote in his weekly blog. "They won all their games in the two previous ties before the group stage, which they have started with an extraordinary victory in Lisbon.

"It's a long trip with two hours of time difference that will demand a quick adjustment.

"We know how excited you are about this competition and we will give everything we have to live up to your expectations."

Keeper Karius to start for Liverpool against Spartak Moscow

Back-up German goalkeeper Loris Karius will start for Liverpool in their Champions League group match against Spartak Moscow on Tuesday, the club said.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has decided to start the 24-year-old Karius, who played in Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Sevilla, the club said on their website, adding it "doesn't necessarily mean he is the club's first-choice stopper for all Champions League fixtures this season".

"It's all about performing," the website quoted Klopp as saying.

"That shouldn't be taken as me saying, 'You are not performing, you're out of the goal'. Everyone is allowed to make mistakes or whatever, but it's about performing in training and the games for all of our goalkeepers."

Chelsea won't rush Hazard back, says Conte

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has the club's long-term interests in mind with his cautious approach towards selecting Eden Hazard as they prepare for Wednesday's Champions League game against Atletico Madrid.

After making his first start of the season in the League Cup last week, the Belgium international was again named as a substitute for Chelsea's 4-0 Premier League win over Stoke City on Saturday as he continues to recover from a fractured ankle.

"I think now Eden is improving a lot and for sure he's in contention for Atletico Madrid," Conte told reporters.

"After a bad injury and surgery you need time. He's almost ready to play but if I make this decision it will be because I'm comfortable with it," the Italian added.

"I think we are managing him very well. Other players are also very important for us and now it's important to be sure he's ready."

Conte praised new signing Alvaro Morata for adapting well to the physical demands of the Premier League after the Spaniard scored his first Chelsea hat-trick at Stoke.

Morata arrived from Real Madrid at the start of the season in search of regular first-team action and has netted six league goals in six appearances.

Feyenoord suffer injury blow ahead of Napoli match

Feyenoord have suffered an injury blow ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie at Napoli as Brazilian defender Eric Botteghin was ruled out of the game.

He will join the Dutch club's influential striker Nicolas Jorgenson and first-choice goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer on the sidelines for the Group F match.

Botteghin suffered a knee injury in the league game at home to NAC Breda on Saturday, which Feyenoord surprisingly lost 2-0, the club said on Monday.

Feyenoord lost their opening Champions League group game 4-0 at home to Manchester City and will start as underdogs against their Italian opponents.

Klopp added that the squad's No. 1 goalkeeper was still Belgium's Simon Mignolet.

Karius, speaking at a news conference in Moscow on Monday, said he was eager to use the Group E match to impress Klopp.

"I just see this as a chance when I get to play, to prove myself to the manager and use this Champions League as a chance for myself to show him I am ready for whatever competition," Karius said.

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