Football: Dynamo set real test for Toshack

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The Independent Online
JOHN TOSHACK'S track record at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium will hearten Real Madrid when they face Dynamo Kiev in tonight's European Cup quarter-final first leg. During his first 17-month spell with the club, Real were unbeaten at home, winning 28 of their 31 matches under the Welshman.

Toshack may bring back the playmaker Fernando Redondo, who last played a competitive game 10 weeks ago. The Argentinian has been out of action with a knee injury, but he was passed fit at the weekend. "He's a specialist in a very difficult position but Redondo is the key to everything," Toshack said.

In a training session on Monday, Toshack indicated that he was only likely to make two changes to the team that started in the 3-2 defeat at Real Betis on Saturday. Jaime Sanchez is expected to make way for Redondo while an injury to Aitor Karanka means that either Manuel Sanchis or Fernando Sanz will come into the centre of the defence.

Dynamo Kiev for their part must over come the traditional hangover often suffered by teams from the former Soviet Union after their long winter break. In last season's European Cup, Dynamo were far less impressive when falling to Juventus in the quarter-finals than they had been in the group stage. This year, to combat the lack of match practice, Dynamo have been training in the warmer climes of Israel for several weeks and playing a number of friendlies.

In contrast to the brilliant individuals of Real, Dynamo's strength is teamwork, with the Ukrainian international strikers, Serhiy Rebrov and Andriy Shevchenko, as focal points.

If current form, injury worries and pedigree tell the story, then tonight's all-German quarter-final between Bayern Munich and Kaiserslautern will be one-sided. Bayern warmed up for the first leg, at their Olympic stadium home, with a 4-0 demolition of Hansa Rostock which lifted them 12 points clear of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen at the top of the Bundesliga.

The Bavarians, who won three straight European titles from 1974 to 1976, will be at full strength as their only doubtful starter, the midfielder Mario Basler, has recovered from influenza and is fit to play.

Kaiserslautern, third in the League, could only manage a 1-1 draw with VfB Stuttgart on Friday and will miss several key players, most notably their striker Olaf Marschall, who has a sore knee.

Juventus, undefeated in three Serie A matches under their new coach, Carlo Ancelotti, hope to take a big step towards their fourth successive European Cup final when they face Olympiakos Piraeus of Greece in their quarter-final first leg at their Delle Alpi stadium.

Out of the title race, the Italian champions are counting on the Cup to salvage a season in which they have been undermined by injuries to key players such as Alessandro Del Piero and Filippo Inzaghi.

While Del Piero is out for the season with knee ligament damage, Juve will welcome back Inzaghi, who is set to make his first start since injuring his knee on 10 January.