Connect with us

Features

RB Leipzig 3-2 Real Madrid: Match Review

Published

on

Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Real Madrid faced a stern challenge on Tuesday night as they stepped out on the Red Bull Arena to take on RB Leipzig. The men in white were missing some key names ahead of the clash, yet needed only one point to guarantee their table-top finish.

Carlo Ancelotti fielded a completely rotated side on the night and used the opportunity to give his fringe players a chance to shine.

Thibaut Courtois was guarded by a centre-back combination of Eder Militao and Nacho Fernandez. Lucas Vazquez and Antonio Rudiger started at right and left back respectively.

Toni Kroos was deployed in midfield from the first whistle alongside the young duo of Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga. Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo and Marco Asensio completed the lineup.

The men in white dominated the possession in the first half, but the visitors walked away with the better chances. Despite having only 46% possession, Leipzig recorded five shots on target and one shot blocked in the opening period.

The hosts’ opening goal came in a similar fashion, completely against the run of play. In just the 13th minute, Josko Gvardiol struck from a corner to give his side the lead.

His initial header was saved by Courtois but there was not much the goalkeeper could do to stop his header off the rebound.

It just took Leipzig five minutes to double their advantage, this time via Christopher Nkunku. Once again, the play began from a corner.

The set piece was taken short, and after a few passes, the ball was inside Real Madrid’s box at Nkunku’s feet. With a calm mind, the striker took his time and placed the ball past Courtois.

Los Blancos slowly grew into the game after that point and pulled one back in the penultimate minute of the half.

The credit for the goal should go to Marco Asensio who did well to get past the Leipzig defence and send a cross across the face of the goal to Vinicius. With just the goalkeeper to beat, the Brazilian cooly headed the ball and finished the job.

The second half was far from equal. Real Madrid took the game by its collar and dominated the chances as they desperately looked for an equaliser. Leipzig, in turn, were completely limited to the occasional counter-attack.

Carlo Ancelotti brought on David Alaba and Dani Carvajal in the 70th minute for Nacho and Vazquez. Six minutes later, Eden Hazard replaced Toni Kroos.

With nine minutes to go, Real Madrid conceded a third goal against the run of play. Leipzig’s vicious counter began with Mohamad Simakan charging down the right flank and getting the better of Rudiger and Militao before sending in an inch-perfect cross to Timo Werner. The German international did not do much wrong in finishing the chance, for he had the open goal at his mercy.

Real Madrid pulled one back through a late penalty in the final minute of the game after Rodrygo was taken down by Nkunku in the box. The Brazilian stepped up to take the spot-kick and buried the ball, but it was too little too late.

Ancelotti’s side tasted their first defeat of the season. Marco Rose’s men were superior on the night, and Real Madrid really missed their core players, including Fede Valverde, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema.

They remain on top of Group F for the time being but will require a win over Celtic on matchday 6 to finish that way.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Features

Five players who will be fixed starters for Real Madrid next season

Published

on

Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Following a successful campaign, Real Madrid are poised for significant changes in their roster due to a combination of player arrivals and departures.

The responsibility of blending new faces with established stars will fall to coach Carlo Ancelotti and his staff as they aim to maintain the club’s competitive edge domestically and in Europe.

And to predict the team’s probable strategy and performance amidst these changes, it is imperative to identify the key players who will be constant starters.

Kylian Mbappe

The new talisman. (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

With Real Madrid no longer viewing Mbappe through rose-tinted lenses and finally being able to dress him in the royal white jersey, the Frenchman is expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Owing to his instinctive nature to find the back of the net, he is poised to be paired alongside Vinicius Jr. in attack.

Last season, the 2018 World Cup winner scored a whopping 44 goals in all competitions. Thus Real Madrid will be banking heavily on Mbappe’s ability to ask questions of opposition defenders in the final third.

It is being said that Mbappe is all set to wear the iconic number 9 jersey at Real Madrid, which is indicative of the role he will play, as a focal striker.

Vinicius Jr.

The main man at Real Madrid. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Brazilian is in pole position to win the Ballon d’Or this year, and looking back on his season with Real Madrid, it is easy to see why.

Despite losing Karim Benzema, his usual partner in crime over the past few years, Vinicius performed remarkably well in Ancelotti’s new system.

Relentlessly taking on defenders, arriving into space, scoring goals, and stepping up in the biggest of moments, he was one of Real Madrid’s major lynchpins throughout the season as they lifted a historic double.

Vinicius impressively racked up 24 goals last season, and given his importance to the team, the likelihood of him not maintaining a starting role next season is nearly nonexistent.

Jude Bellingham

Real Madrid Fans’ Player of the Season. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Defying all expectations in his debut season, Jude Bellingham established himself as a key player for Real Madrid, demonstrating exceptional versatility, and maturity far beyond his years.

Although the Englishman’s performances wavered in the final stretch of the season, Bellingham’s contributions ensured Los Blancos were able to compete in the Champions League and especially La Liga.

In addition to scoring 23 goals in all competitions, he has constantly been a beacon of reliability in midfield and has proven to be the voice of reason on the pitch.

There have been murmurs about Bellingham potentially being berthed deeper next season as Real Madrid intends to use him as Kroos’ replacement. However, given his versatility, he is expected to be a crucial player wherever he plays.

Antonio Rudiger

A mainstay at the back. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Rudiger is one of the major reasons Real Madrid managed to successfully disguise their injury crisis. Despite players falling like dominos in the back-line, the German stood resolutely as a dependable figure for most of the campaign, arguably enjoying one of his best seasons.

Expertly anticipating opposition strikers’ movements, he leaps forward to thwart attacks before they begin. Moreover, thanks to his large stature and incredible recovery pace, he is able to cover distances behind.

Reports have mentioned that Carlo Ancelotti views him as a crucial component of the squad and potential arrivals, such as those of Leny Yoro and Rafa Marin, in the back-line are unlikely to devalue his presence.

Thibaut Courtois

Back like he was never gone. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

In spite of spending more than half of the campaign on the sidelines recovering from an ACL and MCL injury, Courtois is worth his weight in gold for Real Madrid.

He performed admirably in the final few games of the season and did no wrong against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final.

While Andriy Lunin made up for his absence with flying colours, he is placed below Courtois in the pecking order for now, which also has made the Ukrainian lean towards an exit.

The fact that Lunin, after his sublime season, stands no chance of dethroning Courtois between the sticks is a testament to how much the club appreciates the Belgian. Even at the age of 32, the Belgian keeper is anticipated to retain an important role in the team.

Continue Reading