Zinedine Zidane: Real Madrid critics can say whatever they want

Striker Karim Benzema points the way during training ahead of Wednesday night's fixture

Striker Karim Benzema points the way during training ahead of Wednesday night's fixture

Borussia Dortmund's Peter Bosz spoke before his side take on Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

"I think for.Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern, the Champions League starts in February", he said.

But while the event is greeted by yawns in Europe, it can be an exciting opportunity for the champions of the smaller continents.

The only outsiders to make it past the group stage last season were Portuguese giants Benfica and FC Porto.

Throughout his nine seasons with Real, Benzema has also tended to save his best for the European stage and he became the fifth-top scorer in the competition's history with a double in a 6-0 rout of APOEL Nicosia two weeks ago.

Gareth Bale will once again be absent for the defending Champions League holders after he suffered a recurrence of the troublesome calf injury that has blighted his season.

Milan are already on their second manager of the campaign after replacing Vincenzo Montella with Gennaro Gattuso.

A wretched run of form has seen Dortmund drop from Bundesliga leaders to sixth and put paid to their European hopes, but Bosz remained jovial when quizzed on Aubameyang's ability to play for Madrid in the future.

Also in the field are Gremio of Brazil, who have just won the Copa Libertadores, South America's championship; Mexican side Pachuca; Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds; and the African champions, Wydad Casablanca from Morocco. That means he'll know all about the potential attitude or immaturity problems, and be better placed than most to decide if it's worth the risk.

They lead neighbours Manchester United at the top of the table by eight points already and look extremely difficult to catch.

Four of Dortmund's last five matches have seen over 2,5 goals, and we have witnessed that same outcome in three of Real Madrid's last four matches.

"It will not be Marco Reus", replied Bosz when asked who will provide Dortmund's goals. "I don't believe it. In the last game against them, they came in worse than us and they played a great game", he continued.

However, the match is very crucial for Dortmund as a loss against Real would mean that they'll have to depend on APOEL's result against Tottenham for a spot in the UEFA Europa League.

Tottenham's win over Dortmund on the last matchday ensured Spurs' first position in Group H.

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