Spanish giants Real Madrid are coming to snow-covered Moscow primed to extend their winning streak in this year's Champions League in Tuesday's last 16, first leg match with CSKA.
Cristiano Ronaldo (R) and Kaka (L) of Real Madrid warm up during their training session in Moscow. AFP photo/Alexander Nemenov
The Red Army side will be battling an obvious lack of match practice as the Russian Premier League is
currently on its winter break before it restarts on March 3 and have also endured a nightmare sequence of injuries.
Yet with evening temperatures touching minus 10 degrees Celsius or colder in snow-bound Moscow over the last few days, CSKA will also be hoping greater experience in coping with the mighty Russian winter gives them a welcome boost.
Nine-time European champions Real are clear favourites having won all six of their Group D encounters and are now hoping to continue their winning run into the knockout stages.
On Saturday Real confirmed their Spanish League domination with a morale-boosting 4-0 win over Racing to stay ahead of arch-rivals Barcelona.
Real boss Jose Mourinho said he was happy with his team's form ahead of the CSKA clash.
"Everyone is happy, being happy works miracles and we are a group which is in good spirits. We have a lot of motivation although we know that it will be a difficult game in Moscow," said the Real coach.
Real have won their two previous visits to Russia beating Lokomotiv Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg in Champions League group stage matches and will try to remain in the ascendancy in their first ever meeting with the Red Army side.
But CSKA manager Leonid Slutsky said he was priming his players for a lively start against Real, adding the initial exchanges may determine the course of the match.