Real Madrid subs Gonzalo Higuain for Karim Benzema against Dortmund
DORTMUND, Germany -- Gonzalo Higuain will replace Karim Benzema in attack for Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final first leg at Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, coach Jose Mourinho said.
"Do you want the entire lineup?," a relaxed Mourinho asked a reporter after he posed a question regarding his starting team.
Benzema scored in the 3-1 win over Real Betis on Saturday but picked up a knock during the game. Mourinho also confirmed Diego Lopez would continue in goal instead of Spain international and out-of-favour Iker Casillas.
"There is a question mark over (winger Angel) Di Maria, he became the father of a daughter and it is not an easy situation. It is an emotional burden but hopefully he will be fit," said the coach.
Real, nine-time European champions, have twice made the last four in the past two seasons only to fail in their bid to advance to the final.
Dortmund and Real met in the group stage in October and November last year with the German side winning 2-1 at home and drawing 2-2 in the Spanish capital.
"The four goals conceded were four goals from our mistakes," Mourinho added. "I also hope that Xabi Alonso can create situations. We want to create the game from the back and have a more solid defence."
Mourinho, whose Real future and possible exit has been a near-constant feature of his stint, said he felt no pressure going into the game.
"I have no fear, no pressure. I do not know these feelings. it's a game, like the one against Galatasaray or Manchester United (in the previous rounds). We want to win it but those feelings, I do not know them. I try to keep them away from me."
"When I came to Real they were the most successful club, but it was a club which in the draws was not at the top. They were on spot 11 or 12. That is what I found."
Mourinho won last season's La Liga title and the Spanish Cup a season earlier after joining in 2010.
"Now you can expect Real will be top of the group. It is a club that has developed. The financial situation has improved and it is a club where finances have no small importance.
"I know titles count and second spot is not successful," he said.
Real Madrid: 41-Diego Lopez; 4-Sergio Ramos, 3-Pepe, 2-Raphael Varane, 5-Fabio Coentrao; 6-Sami Khedira, 14-Xabi Alonso; 22-Angel Di Maria, 10-Mesut Ozil, 7-Cristiano Ronaldo; 20-Gonzalo Higuain.
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