Real Madrid CF go into their quarter-final against FC Bayern München still smarting from their defeat at the last four stage to the same team last year, that ended their hold on the title. Eight-times winners Madrid, by far the most successful team in Europe's premier competition, have been in irresistible form in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League, and in their centenary year they would consider not reaching the Glasgow final in May a severe disappointment.
Their all-star starting line-up is stable, and no one could argue with players of the quality of Zinedine Zidane and Raúl González. Only one defeat in the competition so far, and 27 goals scored in 12 games, against some formidable defences, shows their class.
Madrid's defence is not the most watertight, especially if they lose possession. Their other problem is psychological: Bayern knocked them out last year and beat them home and away in the group stage in 1999/00, although Madrid gained revenge in the semi-final.
First group stage:
An away win against AS Roma on Matchday One meant they never looked in danger in Group A, and they followed it up with two four-goal performances at home to FC Lokomotiv Moscow and RSC Anderlecht. A 2-0 win in Brussels ensured progression, and although they then drew at home to Roma and lost in Moscow, the group was long sealed.
Second group stage:
Always strong favourites to overcome AC Sparta Praha, Panathinaikos FC and FC Porto, Madrid stormed through Group C with five wins in their first five games, scoring seven without reply in the three home ties. They spoiled that record by drawing away at Panathinaikos on Matchday Twelve, but still won the group by an impressive eight-point margin.
UEFA Champions League statistics:
Played: 12 Won: 9 Drawn: 2 Lost: 1 Goals scored: 27 Goals against: 10
Top goalscorer: Raúl González, Santiago Solari (4)
Last five results:
30 March Primera División Sevilla FC (a) 1-0
24 March Primera División Real Zaragoza (h) 3-1
20 March UEFA Champions League Panathinaikos FC (a) 2-2
16 March Primera División FC Barcelona (a) 1-1
12 March UEFA Champions League AC Sparta Praha (h) 3-0
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