Madrid primed for Milan backlash

As two of Europe's most illustrious names, it is always a big occasion when Real Madrid CF and AC Milan come face to face. This time, the Italian club will be looking to bounce back after a surprise defeat.

Two of Europe's biggest names, with a total of 16 European Champion Clubs' Cup triumphs between them, meet at the Santiago Bernabéu with the pressure on AC Milan to bounce back after their surprise home defeat by FC Zürich on Matchday 2. Hosts Real Madrid CF are much more comfortable, sitting atop Group C with maximum points so far.

Previous meetings
• High stakes tend to be involved whenever these teams cross paths. Their first competitive meeting was a semi-final encounter in the European Champion Clubs' Cup debut season of 1955/56. Madrid edged that tie 5-4 on aggregate on their way to the first of five successive crowns.

• Remarkably, the designated home team has come out on top in nine of the eleven fixtures that have been played over the years, the sole exceptions being the 1988/89 European Cup semi-final first leg in the Spanish capital, which finished 1-1, and the 1957/58 showpiece in Brussels, won 3-2 by Madrid.

• Their most recent games came during the second group stage in 2002/03, Milan triumphing 1-0 at home before Madrid prevailed 3-1 in the return. Raúl González scored twice and Guti, a second-half substitute, added a third in the latter match.

Match background
• Madrid have been drawn against Italian opponents three times in this competition over the past two seasons, winning once, drawing once and losing the last four.

• Before their 3-0 victory over Olympique de Marseille last time out, Los Merengues had lost two of their previous three UEFA Champions League home matches. They went down 2-0 to Juventus in last season's group stage and 1-0 to Liverpool FC in the first knockout round first leg en route to a 5-0 aggregate defeat.

• Before their victory at Marseille on Matchday 1 Milan had won only three of their last ten away fixtures, losing three and drawing four.

Team ties
• Several players are facing former teams. Kaká spent six seasons at Milan before his summer move to the Santiago Bernabéu and Clarence Seedorf won this trophy with Madrid in 1998. It will be a quick return to the Spanish capital for Klaas Jan Huntelaar, who had a seven-month spell with Los Merengues from December 2008.

• Xabi Alonso scored at the second attempt from the penalty spot for Liverpool FC against Milan to make it 3-3 in the 2005 final in Istanbul.

• During the penalty shoot-out in that same final, Jerzy Dudek saved from Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko to help Liverpool earn the continental crown for the fifth time.

• Filippo Inzaghi, playing for Juventus, lost the 1998 final to Madrid in Amsterdam but scored both Milan goals in their 2-1 victory over Liverpool in the 2007 showpiece in Athens. On the opposite side that day was Alonso, while Álvaro Arbeloa came on as a substitute and Dudek was on the bench.

• Ronaldinho spent five years with FC Barcelona, winning the UEFA Champions League in 2006. In November 2005, Ronaldinho scored twice as Barcelona defeated Madrid 3-0 away and received a standing ovation from the Madrid fans.

• Gianluca Zambrotta spent two years at Barça between 2006 and 2008, while Christian Abbiati spent 2007/08 on loan with Club Atlético de Madrid.

• Leonardo was on the bench when Milan visited Madrid in the 2002/03 second group-match stage.

• Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Manchester United FC in their 2006/07 semi-final first leg 3-2 win against Milan, before the Italian side won the return 3-0. He and Ruud van Nistelrooy also played for United against Milan in the first knockout round in 2004/05, which the Rossoneri won 2-0 on aggregate.

• Mathieu Flamini played for Arsenal FC in a 1-0 triumph at Madrid in the 2005/06 first knockout round.

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