Real Madrid will have to upset the odds in order to reach another Champions League final, with Manchester City standing in their way, and Carlo Ancelotti has admitted that nobody predicted that either his team or Villarreal would reach the semi-final stage.
Unai Emery has masterminded Villarreal's route to the semi-final, defeating Bayern Munich in the quarter-final, whist Los Blancos have been able to eliminate both Paris Saint-Germain and the defending champions, Chelsea.
"There are two teams in the semi-finals that nobody believed would get here, Real Madrid and Villarreal," Ancelotti declared in his pre-match press conference.
"I remember what was said at the time, the press and public opinion.
"We got here and we're very happy, Real Madrid will always compete."
Limiting Real Madrid's injuries
Ancelotti is aware of the excellence in City's team, yet whilst facing a number of mounting injuries, Los Blancos could look to merely survive in the first-leg.
"We're not going to decide the tie tomorrow," he added.
"It will be decided at the Bernabeu, the question I have is whether to bet on three strikers or two.
"Rodrygo is doing well, Camavinga did very well and both have brought a lot of energy."
Will Atletico Madrid's approach be the blueprint?
Diego Simeone truly upset Manchester City with his team's strategy in both legs of their quarter-final, yet there are those who believe Ancelotti should use the Argentine's team as the blueprint to frustrate Manchester City on Tuesday.
"If you don't have a compact team then you're going to suffer," he continued.
"Tomorrow the defensive aspect will be an important part of the match, there are times when Manchester City will have the ball.
"It's very simple, if they have it you can't just watch them, you have to defend and try to win it back, be it with high, medium or low pressure."
Casemiro's availability is yet to be confirmed :
Ancelotti will have to assess his players ahead of the kick-off on Tuesday, yet the Italian coach has refused to confirm whether or not Casemiro will be available to play.
"From what we saw in training on Sunday, Mendy is very safe," he declared.
"We have some doubts with Alaba and, above all, Casemiro.
"We have much more confidence with Alaba than with Casemiro, if Casemiro doesn't play then he will be in for the next match."
Anew Real Madrid training session at Valdebebas brought disturbing news for Carlo Ancelotti, as Casemiro and David Alaba barely completed a gentle session on their own and remain serious doubts for the game against Manchester City.
Neither the Brazilian nor the Austrian have overcome their muscular problems, which could be a serious setback for Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.
In any case, both were included in the squad for the match, pending Monday's afternoon training session at the Etihad Stadium, the venue for the game, when they will undergo a definitive test.
The good news came from Ferland Mendy, who completed the session with the group.
The French full-back should therefore have no problem to be in contention to start against Pep Guardiola's side.
Mariano Diaz, who trained at a slower pace, was unable to join the squad, as was Luka Jovic, who worked in the gym and was left out of the squad for the trip to England.
Also absent is Eden Hazard, who worked on his own on the pitch, recovering from recent surgery on his ankle.