Madrid: The latest injury to Real Madrid's German midfielder Sami Khedira comes at a tricky time for the La Liga champions with a potential banana skin awaiting at Real Mallorca on Sunday. Khedira was forced off in the 20th minute of Wednesday's 2-1 Champions League defeat at Borussia Dortmund when he aggravated a leg muscle problem and his replacement, Luka Modric, is not as accomplished in the central holding role alongside Xabi Alonso.
Another option for coach Jose Mourinho is Modric's fellow new signing Michael Essien, but with Marcelo, Fabio Coentrao and Alvaro Arbeloa also sidelined, the former Chelsea midfielder has been filling in at left back. Essien looked uncomfortable against pacy Dortmund pair Lukasz Piszczek and Marco Reus on Wednesday and goalkeeper Iker Casillas acknowledged the left side of defence was a problem.
"It's true that they got a lot of joy down our left wing," the Real and Spain captain told reporters. "You noticed it a lot in the game," he added. "We are suffering a lot of injuries and Khedira's is another setback." Real have clawed their way up to fourth after a poor start to the defence of their title but remain eight points behind joint leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and three behind third-placed Malaga. Barca play at Rayo Vallecano and Malaga are away to Espanyol on Saturday, while Atletico host Osasuna on Sunday.
Mallorca, coached by the wily and experienced Joaquin Caparros, have made a solid start to their campaign and
02:40 PM, Oct 25, 2012