The form guide suggests otherwise, but Real Madrid CF coach José Mourinho believes his side are "in for a difficult match" when they face PFC CSKA Moskva with honours even in their tie.
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Real Madrid CF chalked up their 30th win in 34 outings on Saturday to maintain their ten-point advantage over FC Barcelona at the Liga summit, but coach José Mourinho is taking nothing for granted as PFC CSKA Moskva come calling. Pontus Wernbloom struck with the last kick of the game three weeks ago as the Army Men secured a 1-1 first-leg draw, though Leonid Slutski's side have won just six of their last 24 outings in all competitions.
Coach José Mourinho
We will play with three forwards. If we can feel our fans behind us, it will be a great help. Surprises happen in football and sometimes the best team doesn't win. We have good reason to believe we are in for a difficult match. They are a strong team and know how to defend. I took on CSKA with Inter [winning 1-0 home and away in 2009/10] and Chelsea [winning 2-0 and 0-1 in 2004/05], so I know what tough opponents they are.
Everyone has to do his best for the team. If CSKA win, it won't be a miracle; if they win it's because they played very well and we played very badly. I prefer to be optimistic and think we are going to win. This Madrid team has played 19 UEFA Champions League matches in the last two years and only lost once. The team is afraid of nothing.
Saturday: Real Betis Balompié 2-3 Real Madrid (Molina 10, Montero 55; Higuaín 25, Ronaldo 52 73)
Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Özil (Benzema 89), Khedira, Kaká (Granero 75), Alonso, Ronaldo; Higuaín (Callejón 79).
• Cristiano Ronaldo took his tally to 46 goals in 45 games for club and country this season as Madrid recorded a tenth successive away victory in the Liga at the Estadio Benito Villamarín, establishing a new club record. The previous best of nine consecutive away wins was set in 2009/10.
Fabio Coentrão (hamstring) and Ángel Di María (bruised knee) are out of contention, but Gonzalo Higuaín and Karim Benzema should be available. "I had a problem when Benzema was injured and Higuaín was not in peak form," said Mourinho. "Now they are OK and I don't have a problem."
Coach Leonid Slutski
There is no overriding method to stopping Real Madrid scoring, though counterattacks are when they are most dangerous. They will be at home and they have an aggressive style of play that means they will surely push for a positive result rather than settling for the 0-0 draw [that would send the Spanish side through on away goals].
Every minute will be a key minute in this match but we are not afraid. My players have experience and our goal remains to reach the quarter-finals. Mourinho has an impressive CV. How he is portrayed in the media is how he chooses to be portrayed, but isn't a true reflection of who he is. I met him when he was at Chelsea and he was very open and happy to share ideas.
Friday: CSKA 1-1 FC Dinamo Moskva (Doumbia 3; Semshov 75)
Chepchugov; A Berezutski, Ignashevich, Schennikov, V Berezutski; Mamaev (Necid 83), Wernbloom, Honda (Aldonin 46), Oliseh (Tošić 63), Musa; Doumbia.
• CSKA, without the suspended Alan Dzagoev, were left without a win in five league games after an equaliser from their former midfielder, Igor Semshov. Seydou Doumbia's goal was his first in eight outings for club and country in 2012; last year he scored 34 goals in 43 games.
Keisuke Honda faces a late fitness test on a thigh problem but Aleksandrs Cauņa is available after breaking his toe in January. Igor Akinfeev (knee ligaments) and Mark González (hip) are long-term absentees, although the goalkeeper is back in training with the rest of the squad.
At this stage two years ago CSKA put out another Spanish team, Sevilla FC, with a 2-1 away win thanks to goals from Tomáš Necid and Honda. The home game had again ended 1-1, González scoring CSKA's equaliser.