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Madrid set sights on progress again

Group C is proving a keenly contested section with only four points separating top from bottom but Real Madrid CF have the chance to put themselves beyond the reach of FC Zürich with a victory on Matchday 5.

Madrid set sights on progress again
Madrid set sights on progress again ©

All four teams remain in contention in UEFA Champions League Group C but Real Madrid CF can put themselves beyond the reach of FC Zürich if they can secure a point or better against the Swiss champions at Santiago Bernabéu.

• Madrid went some way to redressing the balance of their home defeat by AC Milan on Matchday 3 with a 1-1 draw at San Siro in their last outing. Ronaldinho's penalty cancelled out Karim Benzema's 29th-minute strike to leave the two pool heavyweights tied on seven points.

• Zürich lie at the foot of the table on three points after losing for the second successive game against Olympique de Marseille, this time 6-1. The defeat, in which Alexandre Alphonse scored the visitors' consolation, left them three points behind the French team.

Previous meetings
• In the 15 September fixture Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Madrid eased to a 5-2 victory, Raúl González, Gonzalo Higuaín and Guti joining him on the scoresheet. Zürich trailed 3-0 at the break but caused Madrid some concern by scoring twice in as many minutes through Xavier Margairaz's penalty and a Silvan Aegerter header.

• The sides also met in the last four of the 1963/64 European Champion Clubs' Cup, Madrid winning 6-0 at home and 2-1 away. They lost 3-1 in the final to FC Internazionale Milano.

Match background
• That Matchday 1 encounter took Madrid's total of goals in 19 competitive fixtures against Swiss sides to 49. They have won the last six games against teams from Switzerland and in nine home matches have conceded only two goals.

• The 3-2 home defeat by Milan on 21 October means that Madrid have lost three of their last five home fixtures in the competition. They also went down 2-0 to Juventus in last season's group stage and then 1-0 to Liverpool FC in the first knockout round first leg en route to a 5-0 aggregate defeat.

• If Manuel Pellegrini's team progress to the knockout rounds it will maintain their record of advancing beyond the group stage in all of their 14 campaigns. They have topped the section seven times.

• Before their Matchday 4 visit to France, Zürich had won three away games in this season's UEFA Champions League and had not conceded a goal. They stunned Milan with a 1-0 win on Matchday 2 and before that were victorious at NK Maribor in the third qualifying round and FK Ventspils in the play-offs, winning both games 3-0.

Team ties
• Hannu Tihinen played for RSC Anderlecht against Chelsea FC in both 2005/06 UEFA Champions League group matches with Lassana Diarra on the bench for the English team.

• Anderlecht were also in the same group as Liverpool FC the same season, Tihinen facing Xabi Alonso in both matches.

• In the competition two years previously, Anderlecht played Mahamadou Diarra's Olympique Lyonnais. Tihinen scored the only goal in Belgium on 25 November 2003.

• Tihinen faced Pepe and Ronaldo in Finland's goalless draw away to Portugal in a UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifier in November 2007. Tihinen and Ronaldo played in the Helsinki fixture in September 2006, which ended 1-1.

• Tihinen also featured in his country's 4-0 home defeat by the Netherlands in 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying, Ruud van Nistelrooy opening the scoring.

• Tihinen played for Finland in a 3-1 UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying win in Poland, with Jerzy Dudek between Poland's posts.

• Johan Vonlanthen came up against Pepe when Switzerland shocked Portugal 2-0 at UEFA EURO 2008™.

• Vonlanthen and Margairaz were in the Switzerland team that recorded a 2-1 friendly win against the Netherlands in August 2007. Van Nistelrooy and Rafael van der Vaart lined up on the opposite side.

• The Swiss duo were in the team beaten 2-1 by Brazil in November 2006, Kaká scoring Brazil's second. They also met Argentina's Fernando Gago in another friendly, played in Basel in 2007, which finished 1-1.

• Margairaz met Germany's Christoph Metzelder in a friendly international on 7 February 2007, Germany winning 3-1. Vonlanthen was a 57th-minute substitute.

• Margairaz played for CA Osasuna two seasons ago and made a 60-minute appearance against Madrid on 16 December 2007, losing 2-0.

• Martin Büchel played in Liechtenstein's 4-0 defeat by Spain in UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying in September 2006. Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Alonso and Raúl were all on the winning side.