Real Madrid will host Olympique Lyon at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday in the second-leg of the last-16 round encounter, knowing that they can go through to the quarter-finals with a goalless draw.
Having drawn 1-1 at the Stade de Gerland, when Lyon's Bafetimbi Gomis struck late in the game to cancel out former-Lyon man Karim Benzema's opener, Madrid have the safety net of an away goal to rely on, though Mourinho's side will look to score and secure a more comprehensive victory against the French outfit.
History doesn't provide an accurate indicator to the outcome of the tie. Lyon have never lost to Madrid, and when the teams met last season in the same stage of the competition, the French side went through with an aggregate score of 2-1. However, no French team has ever beaten Madrid at the Bernabeu and that record looks unlikely to change this time around with Mourinho's side are unbeaten in this year's competition.
Madrid come to this game on the back of a 2-0 win against Hercules on Saturday, in which ex-Lyon favorite Benzema scored both the goals. The brace took his tally to eight goals in six games, making him certain to start against his former side. Madrid's top scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, is expected to play some part against Lyon, despite missing the tie against Hercules with an injury.
Real haven't qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League in their last six attempts, and Mourinho is determined to avoid the same fate this time around, citing his victory over Lyon during his stint at Porto as backing. He told the UEFA website, My team are not afraid of recent history. Statistics exist so that we can go out and contradict them. Sure (Lyon) have quality, but we must eliminate them. I've already done that (with Porto) on my way to winning the tournament.
Club captain Iker Casillas, meanwhile, stressed on the importance of home advantage. He said, We will need the support of our fans against Lyon. We want people to come to the stadium to support us. We must all come together to give a good performance.
However, Lyon are in a fine run of form and are unbeaten in their last seven games. They come to this game on the back of 2-0 win at Sochaux. Lyon have an in-form man of their own in Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez who has bagged four goals in two games. Though they will miss Michel Bastos, who is out of the game through suspension, they could be given a boost by the returning pair of France International playmaker Yohan Gourcuff and Brazilian defender Cris who could feature.
Interestingly, when questioned about the tie, Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas predicted that Mourinho would play for a goalless draw in a bid to qualify with the away-goals rule, but also admitted that his side had a tough task. He said, I am sure Mourinho will play for a 0-0. But, we will try to qualify and if we do it will be an unprecedented feat. The conditions are not the same as last year, and it will be even harder to go through having drawn at home.
Team News -
Madrid have Fernando Gago, Kaka and Gonzalo Higuain all injured while Ezequiel Garay is doubtful.
Lyon will be without Ederson while Aly Cissokho, Yoann Gourcuff and Cris are all doubtful.
It's been six years since Madrid qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and the pressure to deliver in front of their fans will be astronomical. However, with Mourinho guiding them and with Cristiano Ronaldo set to return, Madrid should comfortably see through Lyon. It ought to be a 2-0 win for the home side, and a place in quarter-finals.