Real Madrid will hope to keep up their winning run as they take on Chelsea in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals second leg. They are up 1-3 on aggregate after a stellar display and will hope their starting lineup tonight can get the job done.
Thibaut Courtois starts in goal, as everyone expected him to, and will be screened by David Alaba and Nacho. Eder Militao is not in the squad owing to an injury. Dani Carvajal takes up his role as the right-back while Ferland Mendy starts on the left.
The stellar trident of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, and Casemiro return to man the midfield after the first two were benched vs Getafe.
There are no changes in the attack from the first leg as Karim Benzema starts as the striker. He will be partnered by Federico Valverde on the right and Vinicius Jr. on the left.
Official Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Nacho, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius
Key Real Madrid defender still not 100% fit ahead of Club World Cup semi-final – report
Carlo Ancelotti heads into the FIFA Club World Cup in a pressure cooker situation. The pressure on the manager’s shoulders is immense, for his job could be on the line after Real Madrid’s poor run of form.
The injury situation does not favour the Italian tactician either. Lucas Vazquez, Ferland Mendy, Karim Benzema, Eder Militao and even Thibaut Courtois are out of the semi-final against Al Ahly, leaving him very few options to play with.
According to reports from Jorge C Picon, David Alaba too is not completely fit yet. The Austrian International was given the medical all-clear and entered the squad for Real Madrid’s game against Mallorca, yet started on the bench as he was not at 100%, and that remains the case ahead of tonight’s clash.
The report, however, adds that his mere inclusion in the squad comes as a breather for Ancelotti. Alaba is highly valued by the technical staff, not only for his reading of the game on the field but also for his leadership.
The defender has already missed seven games for Los Blancos since sustaining a muscular injury against Villarreal at La Ceramica. He did indeed come off the bench for under half an hour against Mallorca, but will likely not be risked to start on Thursday.
In his absence, Nacho Fernandez and Antonio Rudiger are expected to take centre stage in defence in Morocco. Eduardo Camavinga, meanwhile, could start as left-back again.
Alaba has played 17 games for Los Blancos this season and was one of the players with the most minutes until his injury. In his league campaign so far, he has scored one goal and provided three assists while also averaging a key pass every ninety minutes.
It remains to be seen if the Austrian recovers completely in time for the Club World Cup final should the European Champions make it. As it stands, using a cautious approach is in Real Madrid’s best interest.