Tonight sees the Champions League return to the Santiago Bernabéu, where the winners of the last three editions of the competition host Czech title holders Viktoria Plzen in what's an unprecedented continental clash. The Whites are bidding to pick up a very important three points in the battle for top spot in Group G (9pm CEST kick-off).
Real Madrid head into this Matchday 3 group-stage contest looking to record a second win in this season's Champions League. The side's first victory came in the curtain-raiser against Roma at the Bernabéu in what was a sensational team performance that saw the madridistas cruise to a convincing 3-0 win. That victory offers the team an example of what'll be required to overcome Viktoria Plzen.
Julen Lopetegui, who had a full squad, barring Dani Carvajal, at his disposal for the team's final training session before the game, has named a 19-man squad. The coach expressed his confidence in his players in his pre-match press conference: "The dressing room is strong because they're champions". The manager's optimism was echoed by Isco: "We believe in ourselves and that we're going to turn this around". And what better opportunity to do so than in a Champions League match at the Bernabéu?
For their part, Viktoria Plzen head to Madrid in search of their first win in this season's competition. Pavel Vrba's charges played out a 2-2 draw in their opener against CSKA, before being on the receiving end of a 5-0 defeat against Roma last time out. This is the Czech champions' third campaign in Europe's elite club competition, after having been involved in the 2011/12 and 2013/14.
The visitors are unbeaten in their last three outings and are sitting in second in the league. Michael Krmencik, who has nine goals to his name, is the side's leading scorer. Although this game represents Real Madrid's first-ever meeting against Viktoria Plzen, the Whites have come up against Czech opposition on 10 occasions and boast an undefeated record at the Bernabéu in these meetings.
Source: Real Madrid CF / Javier García