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Twenty games unbeaten

Optimistic Real primed for ‘strong’ Bayern

To football enthusiasts in Europe, the name Jose Mourinho stands for trophies, exhaustive expertise and winning by defending. Mourinho has added a new dimension to his armoury this season, as his Real Madrid side have scored a monstrous 107 goals in 33 La Liga fixtures. With five matches still to play, Cristiano Ronaldo and Co have thus equalled the league record set by a previous Real generation in 1989/90.

On Saturday evening, the men from the Spanish capital warmed up nicely for Tuesday evening’s Champions League semi-final first leg away to Bayern with a 3–1 victory over relegation threatened Sporting Gijon, maintaining their four-point lead at the top of the standings from sole remaining rivals Barcelona. “It was important to win and stay on our successful course," commented assistant coach Aitor Karanka, once again standing in for Mourinho at the post-match press conference.

Sahin close to success

Real took the Gijon clash seriously and rested very few of their star names. However, the league leaders initially struggled against the defensive visitors, who even took a shock lead through a Miguel de las Cuevas penalty on the half-hour. “But we were even more motivated after falling behind," said Sergio Ramos, who gave away the penalty with a handball and collected a fifth booking of the season in the process, ruling him out of next week's Clasico away to Barcelona.