Real Madrid v Roma preview: Gareth Bale could start second leg
Last Updated: 08/03/16 7:21pm
Gareth Bale may start for Real Madrid as they defend a 2-0 lead in the Champions League last 16 second leg against Roma.
The Welshman made a goalscoring return from a calf injury on Saturday in the 7-1 win over Celta Vigo, coming on with 25 minutes remaining having been out since January 17.
"He's prepared and ready to play," Real boss Zinedine Zidane said of Bale. "That is the most important thing."
Real are looking to reach the last eight of the competition for the sixth season in a row, and have a healthy lead after Cristiano Ronaldo and Jese scored in the first leg in the Italian capital.
Roma meanwhile have a task on their hands if they are to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2008, but go into the game on the back of a fine 4-1 win over Fiorentina on Friday night.
Toni Kroos, who missed the game against Celta Vigo because of a virus, trained on Monday, as did Luka Modric who has been struggling with an ankle injury.
Karim Benzema is still recovering from his hamstring complaint.
Roma defender Antonio Rudiger will not travel to the Bernabeu after suffering a thigh injury but Alessandro Florenzi is fit and will again be tasked with keeping tabs on Ronaldo.
The right-back fared well against the forward last month but saw a strike from the three-time Ballon d'Or winner deflect off him to break the deadlock in Italy.
Real Madrid have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the 19th consecutive season - the longest run in the history of the competition. They've reached the semi-finals in each of the last five seasons.
Roma are in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2010/11. They were eliminated by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Last 16.
The only previous encounter between Roma and Real Madrid in the knockout stages of the Champions League saw the Italian side progress 4-2 on aggregate in the Last 16 of the 2007/08 edition.
Real Madrid are one of two clubs still unbeaten in the Champions League this season, the other being Barcelona.
Real Madrid have won 28 of their last 33 Champions League games at the Bernabeu (D3 L2). The last time they lost by two clear goals at home was in April 2011 against Barcelona (0-2).
No team has scored more goals than Real Madrid in the Champions League this season (21, alongside Bayern Munich).
Rome go up against odds of 16/1 to overturn their first-leg deficit at the Bernabeu, with the Seria A outfit 7/1 just to win on the night as Sky Bet hold Real Madrid as 4/11 favourites. Zidane's men are currently rated 5/1 third favourites in the Champions League outright, with their bitter rivals Barcelona currently heading the betting at 7/4 followed by Bayern Munich (3/1).
Ronaldo leads the first goalscorer betting at 5/2 and is enhanced from 13/2 to 12/1 to score a hat-trick in Sky Bet's Price Boosts, while Stephan El Shaarawy and Edin Dzeko are considered the visitors' main threats at 9/1 apiece to break the deadlock.