Real Madrid have made an exceptional start to the 2022/23 campaign. Los Blancos have a 100% record across all competitions so far, having won seven in seven in La Liga, UEFA Super Cup and Champions League combined.
And, after beating RCD Mallorca 4-1 at the weekend, Carlo Ancelotti & co. will be aiming to extend that run when they host RB Leipzig at the Santiago Bernabeu later tonight in a Group F encounter in the Champions League.
It will be Real Madrid’s biggest test of the season so far as they come up against a Leipzig side enjoying the new-manager bounce. After a poor start to the campaign, they have appointed Marco Rose as their new boss, who led them to a 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in his first match in charge.
Given the might of the German side’s attacking unit, things will not be easy for Real Madrid and they will have to fight hard to keep their winning run intact. Ahead of this much-anticipated encounter at the Bernabeu, Madrid Universal takes a look at how Los Merengues might line up.
There will be an enforced change made in defence from the game against Mallorca as Lucas Vazquez has been sidelined with an injury. First-choice right-back Dani Carvajal will reclaim his spot in the right-back position.
With Eder Militao still not fit, Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba ought to continue as the centre-backs for Real Madrid. The former has not made the steadiest of starts for the men in white and will need to step up against the threat of Timo Werner and Christopher Nkunku.
Ferland Mendy would be the obvious choice in the left-back position for Real Madrid, with Alaba being deployed in the centre-back role. The quartet will shield Thibaut Courtois in goal as he searches for his second clean sheet in the Champions League this season.
Given the plethora of options in midfield at Ancelotti’s disposal, wholesale changes are expected tonight. To begin with, Aurelien Tchouameni, who has already endeared himself to the fans and his new teammates, should start after being rested at the weekend.
The Frenchman will slot in as the No. 6 for the home team, with Toni Kroos likely to be given a breather after starting the last two matches. Fellow veteran midfielder Luka Modric should, however, return to the lineup after making a substitute appearance against Mallorca.
Dani Ceballos made a big impression in a rare start over the weekend. And while he is likely to get more minutes going forward, against Leipzig, teenage sensation Eduardo Camavinga is expected to get the nod as the third midfielder.
Eden Hazard started as a false nine in Karim Benzema’s absence against Mallorca but failed to stamp his authority on the game. Real Madrid looked much more menacing once Rodrygo Goes moved into a central role and the Brazilian should start as the No. 9 today ahead of Hazard.
Rodrygo moving in centrally vacates the right-wing spot, which could likely be occupied by Federico Valverde. Fresh from scoring a stunning goal, the Uruguayan will be high on confidence while his energy will come in handy against RB Leipzig’s attack-minded left-back, David Raum.
Vinicius Jr is the leading man for Real Madrid in Benzema’s absence and will continue to feature from the left flank.
Vinicius · Rodrygo · Valverde
Camavinga · Tchouameni · Modric
Mendy · Alaba · Rudiger · Carvajal
Off the bench
While Hazard may drop out to the bench, he is very much likely to get some minutes in the latter stages of the contest. Marco Asensio could also be in line for some on-field action after his touchline antics over the weekend.
Nacho Fernandez is Ancelotti’s trusted veteran and could be called upon in case Real Madrid are looking to shut shop or if any of the starting defenders are having an off night. Kroos, too, might get on the field depending on the circumstances.
Real Madrid 1-0 Sevilla: Player Ratings
Following Barcelona’s convincing 4-0 win against Getafe yesterday, the onus was on Real Madrid to reinstate the eight-point gap between the sides as they hosted Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu today.
Lucas Vazquez opened the scoring for los blancos after ten minutes, but the goal was controversially disallowed for a foul on Youssef En-Nesyri in the build-up.
Madrid found it difficult to unlock Sevilla’s defence after that, with the first-half ending 0-0 after just one shot on target from both teams combined.
Madrid started the second 45 with more intent, creating some better scoring opportunities, but were left without success until an unbelievable effort from Luka Modric scathed the post and went in.
Sergio Ramos put in a wonderful performance on his return to the Santiago Bernabeu for Sevilla, but it was not enough as Madrid escaped with all three points and an eight-point lead on top of the table.
Andriy Lunin: 8
Was not called into action in the first-half, and was pretty much faultless in possession. But made an incredible save off Romero’s effort in the second half and was extremely proactive collecting crosses, too. Game-changing.
Lucas Vazquez: 7
Did a good job overlapping and was unlucky that his goal was disallowed. Did well to deal with Romero and Ocampos defensively.
Antonio Rudiger: 6.5
Rudiger was lucky that Romero and En-Nesyri did not convert their efforts from close range, as he often left space in behind. Went up to attack with the score at 0-0, too, but came back fruitless.
Was substituted off after 75 minutes after an mostly average display. Again, lucky that he was not punished for the space he left behind.
Ferland Mendy: 7
A few decent moves for Mendy today, but for the most part, his inability to overlap properly gave Vinicius too much to do.
Federico Valverde: 8
By far the most active midfielder today, Valverde was everywhere. Ran the show for Madrid, both in possession and stopping counter attacks before they even started. Missed the easiest chance of the game, though.
Aurelien Tchouameni: 6.5
Did his job as the 6 well, kept the game ticking and kept finding the spare man in midfield. Moved back to the defence eventually, and came away with a clean sheet.
Toni Kroos: 7
With Madrid struggling to break through Sevilla’s defence, Kroos was tasked with a lot of deep progression. Created some tame chances here and there, but failed to find properly find a man through.
Brahim Diaz: 7.5
Kept Kike Salas and Ocampos on their toes, making some tremendous solo runs from deep, but was often left without support. Created a brilliant chance for Valverde, that was scuffed.
Did not take many risks in possesion, but was crucial in Vinicius and Brahim finding space on the wing by offering support.
Vinicius Jr: 7.5
With the Sevilla defence looking very organised, the onus was on Vinicius to create something out of nothing. He attempted a few different things, including flicking the ball over players and attempting shots from distance, but all unsuccessful.
Has to be credited for the effort, though, especially with the rest of the team lacking.
Luka Modric: 8.5
Super-sub Luka Modric coming in clutch for Madrid today with his wonder goal from outside the box. Was also brilliant in possession, increasing the tempo of the game.