IT'S been six long years since Real Madrid made the quarter-finals of Europe's premier club competition and for an institution of such world renowned stature, that's simply not good enough.
They'll be hoping to bring that poor streak to an end at the Santiago Bernabeu tonight and with a two-time winner at the helm in Jose Mourinho, they're favourites to see out the second leg in comfortable fashion.
But I'm not convinced it'll be easy as they face a ‘bogey team' in Lyon – the French outfit have never been beaten by Real in seven attempts, have never failed to score at the home of Los Merengues and were responsible for dumping them from the tournament a year ago. The last leg finished 1-1 and Lyon have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight matches in the Champions League, so I'll be looking at both teams to score here (evens, bet365)
Madrid are sweating over the fitness of the world's most expensive player, Cristiano Ronaldo, who was forced out of the last two matches with muscle strain in his leg but are hoping he'll play some part. His creativity and goals will be a massive plus if he's fit to pull on the boots but odds are so short that he's barely worth considering.
Lyon's Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez missed the first leg with a hamstring problem but is available and after netting here last term, he's a best 3-1 with bet365 to do it again. Stopper Cris has a thigh injury which makes him a doubt but highly-rated playmaker Yoann Gourcuff is expected to be fit.
Real looked dangerous from set-pieces in the last game and there are number of people who are adept from the deadball if Ronaldo isn't around. Kaka is among them (7-5, bet365 to score) and Mesut Ozil (7-4, bodog) is also a worthy pick.
Karim Benzema had to cool his heels on the bench in the first leg before coming on to net the crucial opener against his former club. He's been in red hot form recently and he's my pick to be on the scoresheet at evens with Skybet.
Lyon have Brazilian wingback Michel Bastos missing on suspension and his direct running on the flanks, not to mention thundering free-kicks, will be sorely missed. They'll rely on the aforementioned Lopez and Bafetimbi Gomis (7-2, Skybet)
It's a really difficult one to call but I'm going with the ‘Mourinho Factor' and Madrid to win narrowly, which pays at a sorry 1-5 with William Hills. Avoid it as Lyon are just as capable of causing an upset here.
- Benzema to score (evens, Skybet)
- Both teams to score (evens, bet365)