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Bellingham must step up for Real Madrid vs Man City after recent drop of form

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Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The spotlight will shine on Real Madrid this evening as they take on Manchester City in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

Following a 3-3 draw in the first leg, Real Madrid face the daunting task of beating Man City at home. Keeping that in mind, Real Madrid will count on their top players to perform tonight.

Jude Bellingham, in particular, is one of the players in focus heading into this encounter. The talented midfielder has encountered a dip in form lately and must step up if Real Madrid are to move on from their woes against Pep Guardiola-managed teams.

Bellingham’s goalscoring rut

Formerly of Borussia Dortmund, Bellingham was by far Real Madrid’s best player during the first half of the campaign. In fact, he is still the club’s top scorer, with 20 goals in all competitions.

However, Bellingham has encountered a goalscoring rut, with the midfielder scoring just three league goals in this calendar year. Not to mention, all four of his Champions League goals have come during the group stages.

Despite his recent scoring struggles, it’s essential to recognize Bellingham’s multifaceted contributions to the team. While goals have died down, the midfielder has been involved more in other areas of the game.

Time to step up. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Beyond his goal-scoring prowess, he remains a pivotal figure in Madrid’s midfield, orchestrating plays, and providing crucial assists.

His versatility and ability to impact the game in various phases have been invaluable assets to the team’s success. But it must be conceded that the former Dortmund starlet has not been able to replicate his performances from the first half of the campaign.

This has reflected in Real Madrid’s form as well, with Los Blancos notably allowing Barcelona to remain in the title race. The club also lost to Atletico Madrid in Copa Del Rey and now face a serious challenge against Man City in the UEFA Champions League.

Time to step it up against Manchester City

As the stage is set for tonight’s showdown, the pressure will be on Jude Bellingham to rediscover his scoring touch.

Facing a formidable opponent like Manchester City, who boast a wealth of talent and tactical sophistication, Real Madrid must be firing on all cylinders to secure a favourable result.

While Bellingham’s ability to orchestrate plays and provide assists is undoubtedly valuable, his goalscoring prowess could prove to be the decisive factor in unlocking City’s defence.

In Pep Guardiola’s meticulously structured system, City are adept at nullifying the threats posed by opposing attackers.

Although Man City did concede three goals in the first leg, the return leg at the Etihad could be different gravy altogether. Not to mention, the Premier League giants will be boosted by the return of the experienced Kyle Walker.

ith the likes of Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior likely to come under close scrutiny, Real Madrid will need someone to step up and seize the initiative in front of the goal. And that is where Bellingham could come into the fray.

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MU Shorts

Tchouameni, Bellingham start in a 4-4-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Bayern Munich

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Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will face their biggest fixture of the season later tonight when they lock horns with Bayern Munich in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Having already won the Spanish Super Cup and La Liga, Los Blancos will be eager to take a step closer to lifting the Champions League crown as well.

The first leg, played in Germany, ended in a 2-2 draw leaving the tie nicely balanced as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich battle it out for a spot in the finals, where Borussia Dortmund await.

Heading into tonight’s clash, Real Madrid have only one injury-enforced absentee in the form of David Alaba.

Having made plenty of rotations to the team for the weekend La Liga clash against Cadiz, Carlo Ancelotti will name his strongest possible lineup at the Santiago Bernabeu tonight. And here’s how Real Madrid could take the field against Thomas Tuchel’s men.

Starters

Even though Thibaut Courtois is fully fit and made his first appearance of the season this past Saturday, Andriy Lunin has more than earned his spot in the lineup and will start in goal, as confirmed by Carlo Ancelotti yesterday.

Dani Carvajal is back in the squad after missing the first leg through suspension and is certain to replace Lucas Vazquez at right-back tonight against Bayern Munich. Meanwhile, Ferland Mendy will occupy the left side of the defence.

Antonio Rudiger is a certainty to feature at the heart of the defence but Ancelotti has a dilemma as far as the German’s partner is concerned.

But with Eder Militao still not back to his best and Nacho Fernandez not looking all too secure in the first leg, Aurelien Tchouameni could be asked to fill in at centre-back by Ancelotti.

Tchouameni could start at centre-back. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

In that scenario, Eduardo Camavinga becomes an automatic starter at the base of the Real Madrid midfield, where he will partner Toni Kroos, who was one of the Merengues’ best players from the first leg.

In somewhat of a tweaked setup, Ancelotti’s permanent fixture, Federico Valverde will line up on the right side of the midfield four, while Rodrygo Goes is likely to occupy the left flank – a position from where he has been quite effective in recent times.

It would mean that Vinicius Jr. would play in a more central role on the night against Bayern Munich, with fellow key man Jude Bellingham providing the Brazilian superstar support in the attacking line.

Substitutes

Luka Modric is a certainty to come on at some point in the second period for Real Madrid if he does not start against Bayern Munich. The Croatian has showcased good form in recent games and can impact the proceedings.

Brahim Diaz is also someone that Carlo Ancelotti counts on regularly from the bench and that is unlikely to change. Nacho Fernandez could be an option if Real Madrid wish to shut up shop at the back.

On the other hand, Joselu could be an alternative in attack to provide a different kind of threat in and around the Bayern Munich box.

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