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Brahim, Fran Garcia start in a 4-4-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Alaves

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Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to go into the mid-season break on the back of a win as they get set to take on Deportivo Alaves at the Mendizorrotza on Thursday night.

Los Blancos are currently two points shy of league leaders Girona and the gap could widen to five points, with the Catalan outfit facing Real Betis earlier on Thursday.

A win will, thus, be necessary so that Real Madrid do not drift further away in the title race or even possibly capitalise if Girona were to drop points against Betis.

However, Carlo Ancelotti & co. will go to Vitoria hamstrung by injuries aplenty, with a host of first-team regulars absent.

The likes of Arda Guler, Eduardo Camavinga, Vinicius Jr., Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois have been joined on the sidelines by David Alaba and Ferland Mendy recently, while Dani Carvajal has not recovered sufficiently to return either.

On top of that, Joselu did not train today due to illness, although he is part of the travelling contingent and could play some part against Alaves. With so many absent players, here’s how Ancelotti could set his Real Madrid team up tomorrow night.

Starters

Manager Carlo Ancelotti has already confirmed in his pre-match press conference that it will be Kepa Arrizabalaga starting in goal against Alaves ahead of Andriy Lunin, who started against Villarreal over the weekend.

There will be a couple of forced changes in the defensive unit, as captain Nacho Fernandez is set to start in the absence of David Alaba, partnering Antonio Rudiger at the heart of the Merengues’ defence.

Meanwhile, Fran Garcia is set to take over the reins at left-back after Ferland Mendy succumbed to yet another injury. Lucas Vazquez will continue featuring on the right-side of the backline for the visitors.

Fran Garcia set to start. (Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

Even though Aurelien Tchouameni is back fit, Ancelotti might hold him back as a possible option in case there are any more issues in the centre-back role.

As such, Real Madrid will likely go in with the double pivot of Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde which has worked quite well in recent games. Luka Modric and Jude Bellingham will occupy the wide midfield positions from where they will look to drift in constantly.

The partnership of Brahim Diaz and Rodrygo Goes up top in attack has worked quite well for Real Madrid, with the duo being on target against Villarreal over the weekend. As such, Ancelotti is unlikely to tinker with what is working well for his side.

Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Kepa, Vazquez, Rudiger, Nacho, Garcia, Modric, Valverde, Kroos, Bellingham, Brahim, Rodrygo.

Substitutes

Aurelien Tchouameni is bound to come in at some point in the second period, either to relieve one of the central midfielders or even at centre-back, given Real Madrid’s lack of options in the position.

Meanwhile, there could be minutes for Dani Ceballos and academy graduate Nico Paz, who has been impressing at every opportunity he has received thus far. Joselu, if fit, should come onto the field as well. If not, there may be an appearance for young Gonzalo Garcia.

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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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