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24-year-old Real Madrid star will drop to the bench vs Real Betis despite good form

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Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Real Madrid will face a stern test against Real Betis this coming weekend as they look to consolidate their position atop the La Liga standings.

Despite the spate of injuries plaguing the squad, Los Blancos have found a way to ensure that their winning momentum has continued, having racked up five victories in a row.

But, after the win against Granada on Saturday, Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that he will recover Luka Modric for the Real Betis encounter, while Kepa Arrizabalaga already returned to fitness this past weekend.

Andriy Lunin back to the bench

With Kepa returning from injury, MARCA is now reporting that Andriy Lunin will drop back to the bench against Real Betis when Real Madrid face them this weekend.

The 24-year-old Ukrainian international stepped into the starting XI for the game against SC Braga after Kepa injured himself during warm-up.

In the games that followed, Lunin has proven to be more than a reliable option between the sticks, keeping three clean sheets in the last five matches across all competitions, while conceding just three goals.

But, Ancelotti has already made it clear that he sees Kepa as the first-choice keeper among the two in the absence of Thibaut Courtois. As such, Lunin will now drop down to the bench at Estadio Benito Villamarin on Saturday.

Lunin could leave in 2024

Lunin’s contract with Real Madrid is up in 2024 and as things stand, there has been no offer made by the club.

Instead, the coaching staff is angling for the Merengues to sign Kepa on a permanent transfer from Chelsea.

As such, there is a solid possibility that Lunin will be on his way out of the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season when his contract expires.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid identify two major areas of threat from Borussia Dortmund

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Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The players in the Real Madrid dressing room are well aware that they are considered the favourites for the upcoming Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund. 

According to journalist Jorge Picon, the team’s performance in the final stages of the season has boosted their confidence and everyone in the squad believes they have a great chance of winning the final.

Despite this, though, there are some concerns about one player and two potential threats from the opposition. 

Now, Real Madrid are good at handling the pressure that comes with being the favourites, but they know that Dortmund are a team that cannot be underestimated.

Real Madrid aware of the threat Dortmund pose

This confidence, however, does not translate into arrogance. Real Madrid understand that Dortmund have the ability to cause them problems. 

To address this, manager Carlo Ancelotti must focus on two key challenges: dealing with offensive transitions and defending set pieces.

Dortmund are not a team that exert high pressure on their opponents, but they are very dangerous on the counterattack. 

Borussia Dortmund are very dangerous in set pieces. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

They play a direct and vertical style of football, relying on quick, few-touch plays to move the ball up the field. Instead of building play slowly from the back, they often utilise Mats Hummels’ ability to make precise long passes to players running behind the defence.

In terms of set pieces, Dortmund pose a significant threat with their tall players, as Niclas Fullkrug, Mats Hummels, and Nico Schlotterbeck are all over 1.90 meters tall, making them dangerous targets during corner kicks and free kicks.

Dortmund’s forwards are quick

Speed is another factor that Real Madrid need to be wary of. This is because Karim Adeyemi is a particularly fast player who can break through defensive lines with his runs. 

He usually plays on the wing and can switch sides with Jadon Sancho, but Adeyemi is considered Dortmund’s main offensive weapon due to his pace and ability to exploit spaces. 

While Sancho is also a skilled dribbler who can take on defenders one-on-one, Real Madrid has two reliable full-backs in Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy who will be tasked with stopping him.

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