Marcelo and Bale benched? How Real Madrid could line up against Ajax at the Bernabeu

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Real Madrid will be looking to book their spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League when they welcome Ajax to the Bernabeu for the second leg of their last-16 tie.

Madrid hold a 2-1 advantage from the first leg in Amsterdam, but will certainly been damaged by successive defeats to Barcelona over the last three days.

With the Copa del Rey and La Liga both gone, all of Madrid’s eggs are once again in the Champions League basket. Los Blancos have won the last three editions of the tournament and have been victorious in their last nine two-legged knockout ties in the competition.

Madrid will be without their inspirational captain Sergio Ramos on Tuesday night as the Spaniard sits the game out with a suspension. Ramos will actually be banned for his team’s next two European matches for deliberately picking up a booking in the first leg in Amsterdam earlier this month.

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As a result, the centre-back will miss Tuesday’s match and also for the first leg of the quarter-final, should the reigning champions progress.

Nacho missed Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Barca in the league through suspension, but the Spaniard is available for this match and will start alongside Raphael Varane in central defence.

Gareth Bale was given the nod to start at the weekend, but the Welshman again struggled before being replaced in the 61st minute. Lucas Vazquez did not feature at the weekend, though, and is sure to return to the team alongside Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior in the final third of the field.

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Solari is unlikely to make alterations to his midfield with Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric all due to start. Marcos Llorente would have been an option for change, but the Spaniard is still unavailable due to a muscular problem.

The 13-time champions have been semi-finalists or better in each of the last eight seasons, meanwhile, and will be looking to put their domestic troubles aside on Tuesday night to progress in the Champions League.

Head coach Santiago Solari has some big decisions to make when it comes to team selection and with that in mind.


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