Real Madrid will be looking to make it three wins in three on their pre-season tour of the USA when they lock horns with eternal rivals Barcelona tonight in a friendly encounter.
Los Blancos have so far secured victories against AC Milan and Manchester United as they continue their preparations for the 2023/24 season and will be gunning for another win, that too, against their arch-enemies at the AT&T Stadium tonight.
While Carlo Ancelotti & co. have had smooth sailing so far in their pre-season camp in the USA, the same cannot be said about Barcelona.
The Catalan giants saw their first friendly game against Juventus get cancelled due to a stomach bug affecting a large contingent in the squad. Following that, the La Liga champions fell to a 3-5 defeat to Arsenal earlier this week despite taking the lead twice in the game.
And, Real Madrid will look to compound their problems by handing them another loss tonight in Dallas. With Arda Guler the only absentee, here’s how Ancelotti could set his team up against Xavi’s Barcelona.
Thibaut Courtois did not play against AC Milan and missed the last game against Manchester United due to a minor niggle. And even though Andriy Lunin did well, the Belgian is expected to start against Barcelona tonight.
Shielding Courtois in goal will be the first-choice centre-back pairing of Eder Militao and David Alaba, with Antonio Rudiger and Nacho Fernandez being backup options for the Spanish capital club.
Dani Carvajal ought to occupy the right-back position for Real Madrid. On the left-side of the defence, new recruit Fran Garcia should get the nod ahead of Ferland Mendy.
Ancelotti has stuck with a four-man midfield diamond so far in pre-season and it is unlikely to be any different tonight when Los Blancos step out against their arch-rivals Barça.
Aurelien Tchouameni had a good game against Manchester United and should again feature in the holding midfield position, ahead of Toni Kroos.
Eduardo Camavinga has started the pre-season on a strong note and should feature as one of the interior midfielders, along with Luka Modric, who will be providing value experience to a young midfield unit that will be completed with in-form man Jude Bellingham as the No. 10.
Kroos, Federico Valverde, and Brahim Diaz will be options for Ancelotti for the second half, while young Nico Paz could also get a few minutes depending on the situation of the game.
Joselu scored a spectacular goal after coming on against Manchester United. However, the Real Madrid boss is expected to stick with the Brazilian duo of Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr as his two-pronged attacking unit at the AT&T Stadium tonight.
Joselu will likely be called into action in the second period while Ancelotti could also look at Brahim as an option in attack if he feels the need to freshen things up.
Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Garcia; Tchouameni; Modric, Camavinga; Bellingham; Rodrygo, Vinicius.
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.