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Boost to Real's winning streak as Illarramendi returns

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 Asier Illarramendi of Real Madrid in action during a training session

Asier Illarramendi of Real Madrid in action during a training session

Real Madrid via Getty Images

Asier Illarramendi of Real Madrid in action during a training session

Asier Illarramendi returned to training to hand Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti a boost ahead of tonight's Champions League Group B clash with Basle.

The 24-year-old defensive midfielder has been sidelined since suffering a groin injury earlier this month.

However, he has been named in Ancelotti's 20-man squad and is eyeing a comeback in Switzerland.

Illarramendi joined up with the rest of his team-mates as they prepared for their fifth group game at St Jakob Park, hoping to extend their seven-match winning run in Europe and build on their impressive 14-match streak in all competitions.

Ancelotti knows their run will eventually come to an end, but he hopes that happens later rather than sooner.

He said: "Yeah, we know that day will come. Our aim is to continue our strong run. All the players are motivated and it is a very long season. We need to continue with the same attitude."

Real, who confirmed their qualification into the knock-out stages with a 1-0 win over Liverpool last time out, will still be without injured duo Jese (knee) and Luka Modric (thigh), while Pepe and Sami Khedira have been rested.

Basle, who boast a five-match winning run after seeing off Aarau 3-0 in the Super League on Sunday, sit second in Group B, three points behind leaders Real and three above both Liverpool and Ludogorets.

The Swiss champions are looking to avenge a 5-1 defeat at the Bernabeu on match-day one as they aim to seal their progress into the next round.

Basle coach Paulo Sousa will still be without defender Ivan Ivanov (knee) and striker Marco Streller (back), who has not featured since scoring the winner in the 1-0 victory over Liverpool last month, while Giovanni Sio (illness) and Taulant Xhaka (thigh) are rated doubtful and Serey Die completes a two-match ban.

Basle v Real Madrid,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 7.45

Irish Independent