Real Madrid v Bayern Munich: Continuity key for Jose

Fabio Coentrao could make way if Mourinho shuffles his pack

Three pivotal matches in the space of just nine days would stretch any squad but Jose Mourinho is taking a novel approach, and could yet name an unchanged side for the third time in as many games...

"There can be no better preparation for a big match, than winning one."

For the embarrassment of riches that Mourinho has at his disposal, the former Chelsea boss is obviously convinced that continuity is the new tinkering. After succumbing to a last-gasp 2-1 defeat at the Allianz Arena, the former Chelsea boss named the very same XI for Real's trip to the Nou Camp just three days later.

If it was a calculated risk, it paid off handsomely, as the visitors ran out 2-1 winners and now possess a seven-point cushion at the top of La Liga. And it's perfectly conceivable that Mourinho could stick with the same starting line-up yet again, though it hardly seems wise.

While Real Madrid's key men were scrapping away in Barcelona, most of Bayern Munich's prized assets were given the weekend off. With the Bundesliga title long gone, Jupp Heynckes made no fewer than eight changes to the side that earned a first-leg lead on Wednesday evening.

So as the Spaniards assess the damage from Saturday's bruising Clasico, Bayern are suitably refreshed and raring to go. And it's not as if Mourinho has been turning to his bench at the first sight of trouble. Real's manager waited until the 74th minute to make his first change on Saturday evening, before making two more substitutions with barely any time left to play.

Real Madrid will justly argue they are merely a victim of their own success and there can be no better preparation for a big match, than winning one.

If Mourinho does bow to conventional football wisdom, Kaka, Gonzalo Higuain and Marcelo are perhaps the men most likely to find themselves back in the fray. The latter, in particular, has every chance of replacing Fabio Coentrao at left-back, who came in for a barrage of criticism following defeat in Germany. The Brazilian replaced Mesut Ozil with 20 to play in the first leg but was an unused substitute at the weekend.

Can Bayern Munich make the most of Real's fatigue to win at the Bernabeu? They are 6.86/1 to do just that.

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