Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho says he believes his side is capable of improving on the outcome of its last UEFA Champions League tie with Borussia Dortmund, when the Spanish champions lost 2-1 in Germany.
Robert Lewandowski and Marcel Schmelzer's strikes in that fixture, which came on either side of a stunning Cristiano Ronaldo equalizer, left Los Blancos a point adrift of the German champions at the top of Group D. Mourinho is confident, though, that his team can put in an improved performance when the two sides meet again on Tuesday.
"It's a very hard group, [so] to get anywhere is good," the Madrid boss told reporters. "Losing is bad and I think all the teams are at risk. Dortmund and us are better off than the other two teams. But City may win more points in the second half of the group stage [fixtures] and rise [up the table].
"It is very entertaining because it is very complicated and all the teams are under pressure. Borussia are strong, but we are at home and we can do well."
Mourinho maintained nothing but praise for Dortmund, though, a team that has won two straight Bundesliga titles. "They [Dortmund] are an excellent team," Mourinho said. "It is no coincidence that they have won two league titles in Germany or that they are leading the group.
"They are good with strong, technical and very direct players. For me, if this team gets to the second round, which they are well positioned to do, they will be a candidate to win the competition."
For Madrid to defeat Dortmund, the Spanish champion will have to do so without Karim Benzema. Mourinho confirmed that the French forward will not be fit to play in the match due to an abductor muscle problem.
"Benzema is injured and [Raphael] Varane will start. I do not know how long [Benzema will take to recover], but he is out for tomorrow.
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- UEFA Champions League
- Robert Lewandowski
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- Karim Benzema