A look at the 5 teams Real Madrid could face in the Champions League Last 16
As coach, Zidane has beaten 4 of the 5 potential opponents Real Madrid could face in the Last 16 of the Champions League. Zizou has never faced RB Leipzig.
As the final whistles concluded last night's final group games, we got a clearer idea of who could meet who in the next round of the Champions League. Real Madrid, who finished second on Group A, have a high chance of meeting one of the four favourites in the next round - Liverpool, the defending champions, Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City and Bayern Munich - clubs who Zidane's Madrid have met before in the competition. The fifth opponent who Los Blancos could be pitted against in Monday's draw is Red Bull Leipzig, on paper, a less formidable prospect than being drawn against any of the big four. Curiously, Leipzig are the only club in the five possible Last 16 that Madrid have never faced in European competition with Zidane at the helm.
Madrid got the better of Liverpool in what was Zidane's last game during his first spell as coach - in the 2018 final in Kiev. Goals from Benzema and Bale sealed the team's third consecutive Champions League title. But the celebratory mood quickly deflated when Cristiano announced that he would be leaving the club and Bale, tired of warming the bench, hinted he might follow him. Liverpool are a much changed side now, after Jürgen Klopp tightened up his defence with powerhouse signings Alisson and Virgil van Dijk. Since that defeat in Kiev, the Reds have only been beaten twice - to Manchester City almost a year ago and to Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli on Matchday 1.
The club Zizou left to join Madrid in 2001 for 72 million euros. Zidane has eliminated his old club twice. The first time in 2016-17, in the final in Cardiff. Juve were trounced 4-1 in what was probably Zidane's best game as coach in European competition.
Their paths crossed against the following season when they met at the quarter final stage. Los blancos won the first leg in Turin 0-3 with an unforgettable overhead-kick from Cristiano which drew an ovation from the home crowd. Back at the Bernabéu, levelled the tie with goals from Mandzukic and Matuidi. Madrid were awarded a stoppage-time penalty when Benatia was adjudged to have fouled Lucas Vázquez - in spite of Juve's protests. Cristiano rifled in from the spot. They too have reinforced since those meeting with Matthijs de Ligt, Aaron Ramsey and Adrian Rabiot joining although the latter two's progress has been hampered by injury.
European football's version of El Clásico - three times Zidane has been on the Madrid bench to face Bayern. The first time in 2013-14 when he was Carlo Ancelotti's assistant. Madrid won both legs of the semi-final: Benzema scoring the only goal in the first leg at home and 0-4 in Munich, with Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo grabbing a couple of goals each.
After graduating to the bench, he beat the Germans twice at Allianz Arena - both by the same scoreline, 1-2. In the 2016-17 edition, Bayern lost in stoppage-time after levelling the tie at the Bernabéu.
One year later, in 2017-18, Zidane's team knocked the Germans out at the semi-final stage. With Madrid leading the tie 1-2 from the first leg, back in Spain, Benzema was on target twice after Kimmich had given the visitors an early lead. James Rodríguez, on loan from Madrid, made it 2-2 on the hour making for a nervous final half hour for the home fans.
It was against Pep Guardiola's City that Zidane experienced his first Champions League semi-final as Madrid coach. The two teams played out a drab 0.0 draw in Manchester but there was no contest in the return. Gareth Bale sent madridistas into ecstasy when he put Madrid ahead on 21 minutes with a shot which took a deflection off Fernando. It was the only goal of the game but enough to put Madrid into the final - against city rivals, Atlético de Madrid. City haven't looked at their scintillating best in the Premier League but came through the group stage unbeaten and topped their group. The Champions League is a priority for Guardiola as the league seems to have slipped away.
Red Bull Leipzig
The German club is the only one of the five who Zidane has never faced. Indeed, Leipzig is one of the few teams who Madrid have never met in European competition. They were only beaten once in the group stage - losing 0-2 at home to Olympiqie de Marseille on Matchday 2. They won half of their games and drew the other two to top the group on 11 points ahead of Lyon.
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