Champions League Odds: Talisman blow for Real

Real Madrid could be without top scorer Karim Benzema for their last-16 first-leg trip to Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday (Match betting – PSG EVS, Draw 11/4, Real Madrid 13/5).

Paris Saint-Germain (9/1 Champions League outright) host Real Madrid (16/1) in the tie of the round at 20:00 on Tuesday but there is contrasting news for the two clubs on the injury front.

Benzema has been Real’s biggest threat in front of the goal this term, netting 24 times across all competitions, however, he has been sidelined since suffering a hamstring injury in the 2-2 draw with Elche last month.

The France international has travelled to his homeland with the rest of the squad but it’s unclear if he will come back into the fold.

Benzema said: “I am always prepared to force it for my team, otherwise I would have stayed back in Madrid, but I am not going to risk injuring myself again either.”

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Real have scored just one goal in three games without Benzema and Carlo Ancelotti will have a big call to make if the frontman fails to prove his fitness.

PSG, meanwhile, should have Neymar available for the first time since he suffered an ankle injury in November.

The Ligue 1 leaders only have one confirmed absentee with former Real defender Sergio Ramos sidelined with a calf problem.

Mauricio Pochettino is seeking to land a maiden Champions League crown for the club and admits they face a tough task in dispatching of Real.

Pochettino said: “PSG have been trying to win this trophy for 50 years, so we are the challengers.

“We have so much respect for Real Madrid as one of the best teams in the world. You don’t win 13 European Cups thanks to your coaches, that is down to the overall strength of the club.

“We are the challengers, a lot of effort has gone into building a squad to achieve our dream but we’re still the challengers and Real Madrid are the ones who have a habit of winning the Champions League.”

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