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Real Madrid use two controversial lineups in open training session to not reveal plans vs Dortmund

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Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

In preparation for the UEFA Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti devised a clever strategy to keep his opponents guessing. 

According to a report from Defensa Central, Ancelotti utilised two unconventional lineups during an open training session. This move was designed to create uncertainty about Real Madrid’s starting lineup for the crucial match.

Ancelotti, known for his tactical acumen and experience in the Champions League, is well aware of the psychological aspects of the game. 

He understands that revealing too much during practice could give Borussia Dortmund an advantage. Therefore, he aimed to obscure his true plans by employing two different lineups, each with a mix of regular starters and other players. 

This tactic ensured that Dortmund’s coaching staff would have a hard time predicting who would actually take the field.

What were the lineups used?

Real Madrid’s approach to the Champions League is meticulous, with no detail left unchecked. Ancelotti’s decision to shuffle his players during the open session reflects this philosophy. 

During the training session, Ancelotti split his squad into two teams. 

Carlo Ancelotti used two different lineups during the recent training session. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

The first team included key players like Jude Bellingham, Joselu, and Vinicius Jr, along with Kepa Arrizabalaga, Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, Mario Martín, Ferland Mendy, Federico Valverde, Luka Modric, and Dani Ceballos. 

This lineup was intriguing because it combined experienced stars with less familiar faces, thus preventing clear predictions.

The second team featured another interesting mix. It included the central defensive pairing of Nacho and Antonio Rudiger, with Thibaut Courtois in goal. 

Other notable players in this group were Eduardo Camavinga, Toni Kroos, Rodrygo, Castilla youth player Jeremy, Lucas, Fran Garcia, Arda Guler, and Brahim Diaz. 

This blend of established players and emerging talent further added to the unpredictability of the lineup.

Ancelotti’s strategy was clear: to keep Dortmund guessing right up to the final whistle. By mixing starters with other players and using two distinct lineups, he aimed to maintain an element of surprise. 

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Real Madrid News

How Real Madrid can cope with Brahim Diaz’s AFCON leave

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Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will face a significant challenge in the middle part of the 2025/2026 season.

The 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is set to take place in Morocco from December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026, which could lead to the temporary loss of one of their key players, Brahim Diaz.

Brahim Diaz, an integral part of Real Madrid’s squad, is likely to be called up to represent Morocco in the tournament.

Under FIFA regulations, Real Madrid cannot refuse to release him for international duty. His potential absence could create a void in the squad during a crucial part of the season.

Diaz, whose contract with Real Madrid runs until 2027, has been a standout performer. In the recently concluded season, the 24-year-old scored 12 goals and provided 9 assists in 44 appearances for Los Blancos.

His contributions have been vital to the team’s success, and his absence will certainly be felt.

Three potential solutions for Real Madrid

To mitigate the impact of Diaz’s potential absence, Real Madrid could look to other talents within their squad. One promising option is Arda Güler, often referred to as the “Turkish Pearl.”

In his debut season with Real Madrid, the 19-year-old showcased his abilities despite having a relatively reserved role for most of the campaign.

Güler’s prominence increased towards the end of the season, especially after Real Madrid had already secured the league title. He finished the season with 6 goals in 12 appearances, demonstrating his potential to step up when needed.

Güler’s ability to play in advanced midfield positions and his knack for scoring could make him a suitable replacement for Diaz during the AFCON period.

This opportunity could also accelerate the player’s development, providing him with more significant playing time and a chance to solidify his place in the team.

Another option for Real Madrid would be to make a signing in the summer of 2025 to cater for Brahim’s vacancy.

Currently, the name of Germany and Leverkusen ace Florian Wirtz has been mentioned as a possibility for Real Madrid in a year.

His versatility and vision on the ball make him a good option to replace Brahim Diaz in the squad.

Lastly, with the absence of signings, Real Madrid can look into their youth side and call up Nico Paz to the first team for the one month Brahim Diaz will be out for.

The 19-year-old scored 11 goals and 4 assists in the just-ended season, with one of the goals coming in the UEFA Champions League against Napoli when he had his chance in the first team.

He has the vision, drive, and skillset that make him a like-for-like replacement for Brahim Diaz.

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