Real Madrid to face Rosenburg

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Nine-time European champions Real Madrid go into their vital Champions League Group F clash with Norway's Rosenborg today.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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Nine-time European champions Real Madrid go into their vital Champions League Group F clash with Norway's Rosenborg today. Real Madrid will be playing without their talismanic Brazilian striker Ronaldo, who is out for a month after an ankle injury on Saturday. Saturday's derby victory at Atletico Madrid came at the cost of injuries to Ronaldo and Michel Salgado, leaving coach Vanderlai Luxemburgo to consider his options. Ronaldo has ankle ligament damage while right-back Salgado hurt a hamstring. The two now join Sergio Ramos, who was suspended after being red-carded on the match's day two against Olympiacos, in the stands. Numbers game Real lie third in the group with three points, behind Rosenborg on goal difference. Lyon are top with six points, while Olympiacos are bottom with no points after two defeats so far. While Luxemburgo has said he is "not too worried" by the injury problems it's fair to say that Real present a greater threat when Ronaldo is available. Poor season Rosenborg, who have won 13 successive Norwegian league titles and qualified for the Champions League nine times in the past 10 years, have endured a poor domestic season this time. However, the Trondheim team has been boosted by Sunday's 4-1 win over Brann Bergen. "We are depending on the desire of our players to compete and the certainty that we can get points although it may be difficult," said Rosenborg Coach Per-Mathias Hogmo. For his part, Rosenborg captain Roar Strand sees a weakness in the Real team. Strand scored when Real Madrid won 4-1 in Trondheim in November 1997, and he believes Madrid's vulnerability from set-pieces could be the key to Norwegian success. "We have to take advantage of our players who are good in the air. The fact that Ronaldo is on the bench is an advantage, but there are so many good players on their bench that it is still going to be a good match," Strand said. Banking on hope Some of Rosenborg's hopes will depend on striker Frode Johnsen, who led Norway's first division with 19 goals last season and scored twice in the team's last game. Rosenborg goalkeeper Espen Johnsen, who missed Sunday's game, has recovered from a knee injury and is likely to play. For Real, captain Raul, who scored his 50th Champions League goal against Olympiacos to become the all-time leading scorer in Europe's top competition, will make his 100th Champions League appearance. In defence, the absence of Salgado and Ramos means Jonathan Woodgate is expected to make his European debut. The England defender will be looking for better luck after scoring two own goals and being red carded once since returning from a 17-month injury lay-off. (AP)