Carlo Ancelotti has quashed rumours suggesting Gareth Bale will be used as a left-back to replace the injured Marcelo for Real Madrid’s Champions League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund tonight. The Italian boss will instead plump for Fabio Coentrao in the defensive, insisting that he is happy with the attacking form of the world’s most expensive player.
"I think it is true Bale is a little intermittent, but that is a characteristic of all forwards and especially very quick players," said Ancelotti. "Players with that speed can't have a continuous influence like other players with different characteristics."
Marcelo is Madrid’s only injury concern, whereas Dortmund continue to struggle on with several key injuries, particularly in defence, where they're missing Neven Subotic and Marcel Schmelzer. In midfield, last year’s losing finalists are still without Sven Bender, Jakub Blaszczykowski and the hugely influential Ilkay Gundogan. While Dortmund have grown used to playing without these players this season, trying to get a positive result at the Bernabeu with such a depleted line-up will be an uphill task.
There is no doubt Real were rocked by their Clasico defeat to Barcelona 10 days ago, illustrated by their 2-1 defeat three days later at Sevilla. But they got the gremlins out of their system last weekend with a resounding 5-0 win over Rayo Vallecano, with Bale notching twice. Before the Barca defeat, Ancelotti’s side had won 16 of their previous 18 games and that form should not be discounted tonight.
It’s been a tough campaign for Dortmund, in a season defined by injuries to key players. Last weekend they found themselves 2-0 down at Stuttgart and showed great fight to win 3-2, courtesy of a Marco Reus hat-trick. Jurgen Klopp's men won seven of their first eight games after the winter break but have struggled of late against quality opposition, and back-to-back home defeats by Borussia Moenchengladbach and Zenit St Petersburg this month will have knocked confidence.
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