Real Madrid will be aiming to make it two wins in two in the 2023/24 La Liga when they lock horns with UD Almeria away at the Power Horse Stadium on Saturday evening.
Real Madrid began the campaign with a solid 2-0 win over Athletic Club away at San Mames and will be aiming to build on that victory with yet another strong display.
With champions Barcelona dropping points in the first matchweek, Real Madrid will be eager to build an early lead over their arch-rivals.
Injuries have not been kind to Los Blancos this early into the season, with Carlo Ancelotti set to be without five players for the Almeria clash. Thibaut Courtois, Arda Guler, Eder Militao, Dani Ceballos, and Ferland Mendy are all ruled out with injuries.
Meanwhile, Eduardo Camavinga is also dealing with some discomfort and a call on his involvement will be made depending on his feelings close to the game. Here’s how Ancelotti could set his team up against Almeria on Saturday.
One of the major debates heading into the game was regarding the goalkeeping position – whether Ancelotti opts to stick with Andriy Lunin or hands new signing Kepa Arrizabalaga his Real Madrid debut.
The manager has put that mystery to rest, though, confirming earlier today that Lunin will be starting in goal against Almeria.
Eder Militao’s injury opens up a spot for Antonio Rudiger to start at the heart of the defence, where he will pair up with David Alaba, with the duo set to be put through a stern test.
Dani Carvajal will occupy the right-back position as usual while new signing Fran Garcia should continue on the left side. Ancelotti will be hoping to see the two full-backs push high up the pitch regularly during attacking phases.
There is no looking past Aurelien Tchouameni at the base of the midfield diamond, with the Frenchman slowly getting back to his best.
Federico Valverde should hold on to his place as one of the interior midfielders, but Toni Kroos could get the nod ahead of Eduardo Camavinga due to the latter’s recent fitness concern.
Jude Bellingham made a stunning debut for Real Madrid, scoring a goal and dominating proceedings against Athletic Club. He is guaranteed to start in the No. 10 role, behind the attacking duo of Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Garcia; Tchouameni; Valverde, Kroos; Bellingham; Rodrygo, Vinicius.
Luka Modric is certain to get some minutes in the second half, especially if things are not going Real Madrid’s way. Joselu will be another player Ancelotti will turn to, if he needs to mix things up in the attacking third.
Brahim Diaz has not exploded yet since his return from loan and will be hoping to make any minutes that come his way count.
Nacho could be an option for the manager if he feels the need to rotate one of his defenders at some point in the second half. Meanwhile, Nico Paz has been named in the squad and could be handed his first-team debut, especially if the game is in the bag.
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.