Real Madrid vs Viktoria Plzen preview: Julen Lopetegui seeks win
Real Madrid will be looking to lift the growing pressure on head coach Julen Lopetegui when they face Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Having been appointed in the summer, Lopetegui is under fire with Madrid on a five-game winless streak that included the club’s longest-ever scoring drought.
Although Madrid eventually managed to find the net on Saturday, they were still jeered after a 2-1 home defeat to Levante.
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Lopetegui: I’ll fight to keep job
What’s wrong with Real Madrid?
Lopetegui has been defiant over questions about his future, saying: “What I’ve learned about this club is to fight, that is the DNA of this club.
“That’s what we’re going to do, fight, both the players and the coaching staff. We know results haven’t been great but we are going to turn this around. We are going to fight.”
Captain Sergio Ramos has come out in support of Lopetegui after the loss to Levante, the team’s third straight defeat in all competitions.
“Changing coaches is never good,” he said. “Julen has the support of the players and we all have to overcome this together. Obviously this is a very bad streak for Madrid and that can’t happen, but we are still very much alive in the league, there’s not a huge difference in points to the teams at the top.”
Madrid are seventh in La Liga with 14 points, four fewer than leaders Barcelona, who they face in ‘El Clasico’ on Sunday.
In the Champions League, the three-time defending champions are third in Group G with three points, tied with Roma and one point behind leaders CSKA Moscow, who beat Madrid 1-0 in their last game.
Czech side Viktoria Plzen have only one point after two matches.
Viktoria Plzen are playing in their third Champions League campaign – they’ve faced the holders of the trophy in their previous two seasons, losing all four games by an aggregate score of 0-12 (vs Barcelona in 2011-12 and Bayern Munich in 2013-14).
Real Madrid lost against CSKA Moscow last time out – they’ve not lost more than once in a Champions League group stage since 2008-09, when they lost twice to Juventus.
Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last 26 home Champions League group stage games (W23 D3), since a 2-3 loss to AC Milan in October 2009.
Real Madrid haven’t failed to score in any of their last 43 Champions League home matches, since a 0-2 loss to Barcelona in April 2011. Since then they’ve scored 125 goals at the Bernabeu, at an average of almost three per game.
Viktoria Plzen have only kept one clean sheet in their 14 Champions League matches (1-0 at Borisov in November 2011), conceding 35 goals in the process.
Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale has scored in his last two Champions League appearances – he’s never found the net in three consecutive games in the competition.
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