TEAM NEWS: Modric starts over Di Maria as Madrid face Dortmund

The Argentine’s position had been in doubt due to the birth of his child, and he will have to wait from the sidelines at the start of the Champions League semi-final

Real Madrid star Angel Di Maria has been confirmed to start on the bench against Borussia Dortmund in the semi-final of the Champions League, ending doubts over his appearance after becoming a father earlier in the week.

The Argentine, formerly of Benfica, witnessed his partner give birth on Monday, and was given permission to meet up with the rest of the squad on Wednesday in order to spend time with his new baby girl. His place in the first team had not been assured, and Luka Modric was given the chance to start over ‘Fideo’ in the key European clash.

Compatriot Gonzalo Higuain, meanwhile, gets the nod against Dortmund. ‘Pipita’ was preferred over Karim Benzema by coach Jose Mourinho, and will act as a lone striker as Madrid keep up the hunt for a 10th European Cup/ Champions League title.

BVB spring few surprises in their first XI, as Nuri Sahin exits while Ilkay Gundogan and Sven Bender start in the middle.

Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Hummels, Subotic, Schmelzer; Kehl, Gundogan; Blaszczykowski, Reus, Gotze; Lewandowski.

Subs: Langerak, Kehl, Leitner, Sahin, Grosskreutz, Schieber, Santana.

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Diego Lopez; Ramos, Varane, Pepe, Coentrao; Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Modric, Ozil, Ronaldo; Higuain.

Subs: Casillas, Di Maria, Kaka, Benzema, Albiol, Callejon, Nacho.

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