GNK Dinamo Zagreb are hoping to mark their first group appearance since 1999 by causing an upset against Real Madrid CF, though Krunoslav Jurčić says the game itself is a "big prize".
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Krunoslav Jurčić is hoping weeks of thorough planning pay off when his GNK Dinamo Zagreb side return to the UEFA Champions League after an absence of 12 seasons by welcoming Real Madrid CF to Zagreb, although the coach acknowledges the opportunity to play the nine-time European champions is a "big prize" in itself.
Coach Krunoslav Jurčić
We have been talked about Madrid a lot in recent weeks; they are the topic of every conversation. The big prize for me and my players is to play against Real Madrid. We had scouts at their last match and we received some instructions as to how we can play against them, but the most important thing is that we don't need to try to beat the Real Madrid players at their own game; that would be wrong. We will try to play our own game and try to keep to our rhythm.
I know what I will say to my players before the match. I will repeat the words that coach Osvaldo Ardilles told us in the dressing room before our 0-0 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford [in the group stage, 12 years ago]. I will say that we need to play the best we can on the pitch and not think about who we will be swapping shirts with after the match.
Saturday: HNK Hajduk Split 1-1 Dinamo Zagreb
(Andrić 44; Luis Ibáñez 45+4)Kelava; Vida, Tonel, Šimunić, Cufre (Šitum 46); Badelj, Leko (Kovačić 66), Sammir, Ibáñez; Rukavina (Krstanović 86), Beqiraj
• Dinamo have suffered just one defeat in 13 matches this season, the 2-0 loss to Malmö FF in the UEFA Champions League play-off second leg.
Igor Bišćan, out since April, is expected to miss the first half of the season following surgery on his left ankle. Defender Leandro Cufre has been rulled out with adductor problems after pulling up in training on Tuesday. Jurčić said: "He couldn't make it, we need to find another solution now in our defence."
Assistant coach Aitor Karanka
We've had several injuries recently but now the situation is much better. Sami Khedira is back in the team, he is fit and he can play. We won't have our first XI available, some players have been out of the team for quite some time so we will see tomorrow who will play.
We don't know much about Dinamo, I know they haven't played in the Champions League for a long time, but they are playing now in front of their home crowd, so we need to be at our best. If you ask me to rate Dinamo, I'd say they are one of the less difficult opponents in our group.
Saturday: Real Madrid 4-2 Getafe CF
(Benzema 14 69, Ronaldo 60pen, Higuaín 88; Miku 39 73)Casillas; Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo; Di María (Kaká 72), Alonso, Özil (Higuaín 87), Coentrão; Ronaldo, Benzema (Granero 90)
• Cristiano Ronaldo, who struck a Liga record 40 goals in 2010/11, has scored seven goals in his last four appearances, 19 in 11 stretching back to last season.
Hamit Altıntop (back) and Nuri Şahin (left knee ligament strain) are yet to make their Madrid debuts while Khedira has not featured since suffering an adductor injury in the Spanish Super Cup second leg on 17 August.
In both their previous two group stage campaigns Dinamo began with goalless draws, at home to AFC Ajax in 1998/99 and again the following season away to then holders Manchester United FC. In the first participation they were unbeaten at home, drawing two games and winning one, while in 1999/2000 they lost twice and won once.