Real Madrid are pretty much on cloud nine right now. After winning the Champions League and La Liga last season, they have managed to pucker up a perfect start to the season so far.
They are unbeaten in La Liga, winning seven out of their eight games, and have won all three of their Champions League fixtures so far.
Tomorrow, they will hope to keep this incredible run alive, locking horns against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Polish Army Stadium in Warsaw. They defeated the Ukrainian outfit in the previous fixture last week, and will be boosted by the presence of Luka Modric and Karim Benzema tomorrow.
Ahead of the game, Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media as part of his pre-game press conference.
On the game: “The challenge is to recover the players well, evaluate them, today’s training is important. And then hit the eleven to win the game. It’s a great opportunity and we want to get done with the group stage tomorrow.”
“I spoke a little with Jovicevic in the first leg. They work with many difficulties, we are in solidarity with them and we respect them. But playing like that means a lot to them, they want to give a good image for the people that are suffering.”
On rotations: “The question is good, it is very complicated because the players get angry and each one in their own way. But the reaction of everyone in this group is very positive, to be more focused and focused on work. No one has lowered their arms so far. In the end, they are very respectful of the decisions I make, that’s the most important thing. I respect the person, although you may get angry with the coach.”
On tomorrow’s starters: “Vini is one of the players I must evaluate because he has played every game, today’s trip…It has to be evaluated. Karim is fine and it is clear that tomorrow he starts, with Kroos and Mendy, who are fresh and are going to play.”
“I give the line-up two hours before, as always, because that’s when we do the technical meeting. Nothing has changed. The fact that we get to the stadiums earlier has changed everything a little. I don’t mind keeping the line-up secret, because in today’s football there is no secret.”
On Xavi’s words about ‘winning without playing well’: “I did not watch their match yesterday, sometimes it can happen that you can win even if you don’t perform at 100%. The motivational and mental aspects are important. The suffering in football is normal, and the matches are equal. Winning like this builds character.”
On Thibaut Courtois: “Courtois is much better, the plan is to start training on Thursday and be ready for Sunday. We’ve talked to him and he’s much better.”
On Andriy Lunin: “I always talk to Lunin because he plays well. He is young and has a lot of quality.”
“He is very shy, and does not talk much. It is normal that everything that happens impacts him. The only thing we can do is to support him.”
On Eden Hazard: “Hazard may or may not play tomorrow. The lineup is not very clear to me, yet. Those who have not played yet will definitely play. I will evaluate the matter with the technical staff and the medical staff.”
Brahim, Tchouameni start in a 4-3-1-2: How Real Madrid could lineup against Sevilla
Real Madrid are set to play hosts to Sevilla this evening, in what could prove to be a critical match in the context of the title race.
Although Los Blancos hold a formidable lead at the top of the table, the club are coming on the back of a disappointing result against Rayo Vallecano.
Dropping more points against Sevilla tonight could prove to be costly, especially with Barcelona and Girona breathing down their necks.
Potential Real Madrid lineup vs Sevilla
As Real Madrid approach this crucial game, coach Carlo Ancelotti has to make several arrangements, especially with so many players ruled out either due to injury or suspension.
Starting from the goalkeeper position, Thibaut Courtois remains out, which means Andriy Lunin should continue in between the sticks, ahead of the unhappy Kepa Arrizabalaga.
In the right-back position, Ancelotti is likely to opt for Lucas Vazquez, as Dani Carvajal is suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the last game.
On a bright note, though, Antonio Rudiger is back and should return to central defence. He will be accompanied by Nacho Fernandez at the heart of Real Madrid’s four-man backline.
Elsewhere in defence, Ferland Mendy should continue to start ahead of Fran Garcia in the left-back position.
Moving into midfield, Eduardo Camavinga has been ruled out due to suspension. However, Ancelotti does have a myriad of options in the middle of the park.
Aurelien Tchouameni should continue to operate in the number six position, just behind the two interior midfielders Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde.
Luka Modric is an option on the bench, should Ancelotti require more experience in the middle.
As for the attack, the Real Madrid frontline should be led by Brahim Diaz once again, even though he faces fierce competition from Joselu.
Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, on the other hand, are guaranteed choices in the wide attacking spaces, though Ancelotti does have Arda Guler and Alvaro Rodriguez as potential alternatives.