Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is confident that Los Blancos can go through to the Champions League semi-final despite needing to overturn a 2-0 deficit from their first-leg defeat to Wolfsburg. The French manager has included all his first-team players and academy striker Borja Mayoral in his 23-man squad to face the German club on Tuesday night (12 April) after Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane returned to training on Sunday following a short spell on the sidelines.
The 10-times Champions League winners (including six European Cups) reacted to last week's disappointing result in Wolfsburg with an impressive 4-0 victory over Eibar at the weekend, despite Zidane resting a number of key players for the game. Goalkeeper Keylor Navas and Luka Modric were left out of the squad, alongside suspended Sergio Ramos and injured duo Benzema and Varane. The win was a perfect morale boost ahead of the second leg against Wolfsburg, seeing Los Blancos reduce the gap with Barcelona at the top of La Liga to four points after the Catalans lost at Real Sociedad.
Zidane has urged Real players to be patient and play with the "head" to secure a big home win against Wolfsburg – amid speculation that his future at the Bernabeu depends on his side turning this tie around.
"This is a big match, but you need a cool head to play in it," Zidane said in the press conference ahead of the game. "We are not going to win it in [the first] 10 or 15 minutes. It could be more difficult if they score, but that can happen. We must be focused from minute one. We have to score, but we have 90 minutes to do so. We need to be patient.
"People want to see their team play well and I'm sure we are going to do that tomorrow. The first-leg result makes it more complicated, but also more exciting. We love our fans because we know how important they are, especially in our stadium. We want them to support us from minute one until the end."
The manager, meanwhile, has welcomed the return to action of both Benzema and Varane, as he has decided to call up his entire first-team squad – as well as youngster Mayoral.
Benzema is expected to lead the forward line, alongside Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, after he picked up a knee injury during the first half at Wolsfburg. Having scored 25 goals in 28 appearances this season, the Frenchman's contribution could be crucial. "He (Benzema) is fully recovered from his knock. He's ready to play well and focus on the game," Zidane confirmed.
The Real Madrid manager, meanwhile, refused to comment on the rest of his selection plans for the game. He is expected, though, to deploy a similar line-up to the one that recently beat Barcelona in El Clasico, with Casemiro holding the midfield behind Modric and Toni Kroos.
"Casemiro is a player who brings balance to the side," the boss added. "We'll see who is starting tomorrow. We know the importance of Casemiro when we're attacking. When we have the ball it's important to know what is going to happen next. He's always thinking about those things".