After a minor bump at the start of the month, Real Madrid have recovered well and are back at the top of the La Liga standings while also booking a place in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
A last-gasp draw against Shakhtar Donetsk, thanks to Antonio Rudiger’s brave header, secured qualification to the next round for Los Blancos. Now the focus will be to nail down the top spot in Group F for themselves, which they can do by avoiding defeat against RB Leipzig tonight.
The Merengues had beaten the Bundesliga outfit in the reverse fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu and go into the game on the back of a 3-1 victory over Sevilla in La Liga.
Carlo Ancelotti, though, will have to cope with the absence of key players like Karim Benzema, Federico Valverde and Luka Modric, while Dani Ceballos and Mariano Diaz are also unavailable. How that affects his selections will be interesting to see as Real search for another win.
Here at Madrid Universal, we take a look at how Real Madrid could set up against RB Leipzig later tonight.
Thibaut Courtois made his return from injury this past weekend against Sevilla and is certain to man the goal again, despite Andriy Lunin’s impressive displays in the absence of the Belgian international.
As for the rest of the side, there could be plenty of changes made by manager Ancelotti on the night in Germany. Lucas Vazquez has performed solidly whenever given an opportunity and could be in line for a start at right-back ahead of Dani Carvajal.
There could be a new centre-back pairing altogether deployed by Ancelotti with Antonio Rudiger and Nacho Fernandez likely to feature from the get-go, giving Eder Militao and David Alaba a break. Ferland Mendy should hold on to his place at left-back though.
Moving into the middle of the park, Luka Modric and Federico Valverde’s unavailability should ensure that Eduardo Camavinga gets a starting berth for Real Madrid against RB Leipzig.
Aurelien Tchouameni has been an outstanding performer for Los Blancos so far this season and will again be deployed as the deepest of the three midfielders, where he could tangle with Christopher Nkunku. Toni Kroos will bring the experience in the visitors’ midfield unit.
Ancelotti confirmed in his pre-match presser that Vinicius Jr will not be rested against Leipzig. The Brazilian will take his customary spot on the left flank while Rodrygo Goes will operate centrally in Karim Benzema’s absence.
Marco Asensio has made a solid impression in his cameos off the bench of late and is in line to make his first start of the season, slotting in on the right wing.
Sergio Arribas, who has been the standout performer for Real Madrid Castilla over the past year, could be in line to get a few minutes in the latter stages.
Eden Hazard could also get an opportunity late in the contest, having been hardly used by Ancelotti in recent weeks. One could also expect the manager to throw David Alaba on the pitch at some time on his return to Germany.
Modric, Camavinga start in a 4-4-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Union Berlin
Real Madrid will begin their quest for their 15th European crown as they start the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League season against Union Berlin in Group C tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid have made a solid start to the season, winning five in five in La Liga, although they have not always been convincing victories.
But Los Blancos have found a way to collect maximum points from difficult situations and will be eager to carry forward that form and momentum into Europe’s premier club competition.
Leading up to the game, Real Madrid have greeted both good and bad news on the injury front. Ferland Mendy is back in the squad for the match, which comes in as a big positive, while both Arda Guler and Vinicius Jr are closing in on a return.
However, onto bad news, in-form right-back Dani Carvajal picked up an injury and has been ruled out of the contest, and could potentially miss the derby against Atletico Madrid later this week.
With less than 12 hours left before kickoff, here’s how Real Madrid could line up against the German opposition, who are debuting in the UEFA Champions League.
With no Thibaut Courtois in the mix, on-loan goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga appears to be the preferred choice in goal ahead of Andriy Lunin. As such, the Spaniard should keep his place between the sticks tonight for Real Madrid against Union Berlin.
Dani Carvajal’s absence will see Lucas Vazquez start at right-back, as was confirmed by Carlo Ancelotti during his press conference. Meanwhile, Fran Garcia should make his UCL debut, slotting in at left-back despite the availability of Ferland Mendy.
At the heart of the defence, it is unlikely that Ancelotti will change the pairing of Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba, with captain Nacho Fernandez once again featuring off the bench.
As has been the case throughout this season, it is the midfield department that Ancelotti will have some major decisions to make.
Aurelien Tchouameni has been in fine form as the defensive midfielder this campaign, but the Frenchman could be rested tonight, with his compatriot, Eduardo Camavinga. starting as the lone pivot.
Meanwhile, Federico Valverde, who was on target against Real Sociedad over the weekend, should continue as one of the interiors, even though he recently revealed that he has been playing with an injured arm.
Luka Modric should make his second start of the season for Los Blancos, replacing fellow veteran Toni Kroos in the starting XI. Jude Bellingham will occupy the tip of the midfield diamond for Los Blancos.
As has been the case during Vinicius Jr’s absence, Rodrygo Goes and in-form forward Joselu will form the strike partnership up top.
Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Kepa, Vazquez, Rudiger, Alabal, Garcia, Camavinga, Valverde, Modric, Bellingham, Rodrygo, Joselu.
Toni Kroos is certain to come on at some point in the second period to help Real Madrid provide control in the game. Fellow veteran Nacho Fernandez is also likely to be called upon to relieve one of the defenders.
Dani Ceballos and Ferland Mendy could make their first appearances of the season after their injury layoffs, while Brahim Diaz is also expected to get some minutes.