Liga - Schuster plots Bernabeu punishment

Bernd Schuster was ignominiously dumped as coach of Real Madrid in late 2008 and the plain-speaking German is eager for revenge when his Malaga side visit the Bernabeu in La Liga on Saturday (1400 GMT).

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Liga - Schuster plots Bernabeu punishment
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Bernd Schuster (Reuters)

Sacked after he suggested it was impossible for Real to beat arch rivals Barcelona at the Nou Camp, Schuster believes Real's stuttering start to their domestic campaign under new coach Carlo Ancelotti this season proves they are vulnerable.

Barca and Atletico Madrid have both won all eight of their matches and have a five-point lead over third-placed Real, who have yet to gel as a unit under Italian Ancelotti as he tries to make his mark on the team following the exit of Jose Mourinho.

A calm personality who avoids conflict, Ancelotti has promised the Real fans entertaining, attacking football, while combative and controversial Portuguese Mourinho often used defensive tactics to eke out results but alienated a significant section of the home supporters.

"I won't deny that it's an attractive game for me," Schuster, who is returning to the Bernabeu as coach of a rival team for the first time since his dismissal, said in an interview with Marca sports daily published on Wednesday.

"Madrid is in a strange moment and I am going to go for it," added the 53-year-old, who was known as "the blond angel" during his career as an attacking midfielder and is one of the few men to have played for Real, Barca and Atletico.

"It's normal that the team retains much of Mourinho," he said. "Carlo has arrived with a different philosophy, a different style, a different way of behaving and making the change is a really tough challenge.

"They are lacking in organisation... but I am realistic. To come out of the game with anything we will have to play a great match and they a bad one and even then they can still beat you."

Qatar-owned Malaga are going through a process of adjustment after last season's thrilling run to the Champions League quarter-finals and are 10th in the standings.

UEFA rules designed to stop clubs spending more than they earn have checked the club's spending spree and many of their top performers, including Santi Cazorla, Isco, Joaquin and Jeremy Toulalan, have moved on.

Although Schuster's job is to rebuild the team and make sure they qualify for Europe, he said he would encourage his players to go after Real on Saturday and suggested some of their key performers might be jaded after the international break.

"Let nobody think that we are coming with a bus, if you just try to defend you are dead," he told Marca.

"If they put four past us then so be it, but with us stepping up to the plate, putting them under pressure in attack, without taking risks but courageously.

"It's better to come out of the game with your head held high having given your all.

"Maybe instead of playing with one forward as we have been we will play with two and take out a midfielder

"Let's see if it works out for us, but if not at least we will have tried."

Champions Barca and King's Cup holders Atletico will be looking to continue their perfect starts when they play at Osasuna and Espanyol respectively on Saturday (1800/2000).

Barca's world player of the year Lionel Messi, who has not played since damaging a thigh muscle at the end of last month and missed Argentina's final two World Cup qualifiers, trained normally this week and could feature in Pamplona.

Centre backs Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano are also close to a return from injury.

Barca's new coach Gerardo Martino, who replaced the ailing Tito Vilanova in the close season, became the first man to record victories in his opening eight La Liga matches when Barca beat Real Valladolid 4-1 at the Nou Camp on their last outing before the international break.

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