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Three talking points ahead of Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid

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After overcoming the seemingly never-ending 120 minutes against Manchester City at Etihad, Real Madrid will play in the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League over two legs in the coming weeks.

The first of the two instalments is set to kick off at the Allianz Arena and sees Los Blancos pitted against the German kings Bayern Munich.

Thomas Tuchel’s side qualified for the final four after a tight 3-2 win over Arsenal in the last round, thus setting up a blockbuster clash against Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

In many ways, the two legs between the European giants will decide the favourite to take the title home.

The men in white have a stunning record against the Germans in the recent decade and have not lost to them in the UCL since 2012.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid.

1. The same game-plan

It was clear as soon as the UEFA Champions League knockout draws were out that Real Madrid would not have it easy. Pitted alongside the favourites in one half of the draw, the path to the throne was filled with formidable oppositions.

The most difficult of them all, Manchester City, came first, and Real Madrid were forced to put their sweat and blood into every minute they played against the English kings.

They did eventually pull through and do it the hard way at Etihad, but it was clear throughout that the men in blue were the better and more attacking side while Real Madrid were forced to live off the occasional counter-attack.

Yet, that is the beauty of Real Madrid’s game plan and mentality, for it is only the final result that counts in the dressing room.

Just as the dressing room was clear that it was the result and not the manner in which it came about that mattered against City, the plan for tomorrow’s game must remain the same.

Heading into the first leg in Bavaria, Carlo Ancelotti’s side must only look to hold their own and not fall into a deficit.

2. Absences aplenty

Ancelotti travels to Germany with a nearly complete squad at his disposal, but Thomas Tuchel cannot boast of a similar advantage heading into the biggest game of the season for his side.

The Germans, after all, are missing several key stars through injury hence their availability for the game against Real Madrid is under a cloud of doubt.

Jamal Musiala, the Bavarians’ most potent force in the final third, has missed the team’s last two games through a tendon injury.

He did participate in training earlier today and it is unclear if he will be fit enough to start even if he enters the squad list.

Matthijs de Ligt, Bayern’s star defender and Konrad Laimer, meanwhile, were taken off with injuries in the team’s last game.

The former, who is the team’s first-choice centre-back, missed training today and is almost guaranteed to miss the game tomorrow.

It thus remains to be seen how injuries affect Bayern’s game plan at Allianz Arena. In any case, the onus is on Real Madrid to capitalise on any subtle weaknesses Tuchel is forced to introduce.

3. Trust in Militao

Many expected Eder Militao’s return to take the next big step when Real Madrid took on Real Sociedad earlier this week, especially considering the large-scale rotations expected.

What very few saw coming was the Brazilian’s direct appearance in the starting lineup, and more importantly, him completing the 90 minutes at San Sebastian.

As the UCL clash nears, the Italian tactician is undoubtedly considering bringing Militao back into the starting lineup on the night and it is vital that the pros and cons will be weighed.

Ancelotti opted for Aurelien Tchouameni over Nacho Fernandez in the team’s first clash against Manchester City purely for the former’s dominance in the air as he saw it to be a must against an elite opposition.

In such a scenario, the same logic will apply to the game against Tuchel’s side, giving Militao a solid reason to start alongside Rudiger.

The one downside, however, lies in the Brazilian’s fitness for it is unclear if he is ready to play a Champions League semifinal for 90 minutes and possesses the required match fitness.

After all, the likes of Harry Kane, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, and Thomas Muller are capable of vicious counters and 100% fitness will be a must for every player in white.

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Real Madrid’s best lineup next season with Kroos retiring, Mbappe and Endrick joining

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Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

It is set up to be a transformative summer for Real Madrid. After the UEFA Champions League final has concluded and the grand showdown finally has a victor, the Merengues are expected to undergo a squad revamp.

Indeed, the Santiago Bernabeu is preparing to welcome several high-profile signings, while also bidding farewell to some beloved Madrid legends.

Considering the potential arrivals of Kylian Mbappe and Endrick, as well as Toni Kroos’ recent retirement, here is how Real Madrid could shape up next season:

Goalkeeper

Having made a long-awaited return from injury, Thibaut Courtois is anticipated to guard Real Madrid’s goal next season once more.

The Belgian goalie has already started featuring in the starting XI and is expected to play against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final, too.

As such, his place for next season is hardly in doubt. However, unlike previous seasons, he will face much fiercer competition from Andriy Lunin, who has enjoyed a stellar campaign.

Defence

Fortifications in the defensive line remain high on Real Madrid’s priority list in the upcoming summer transfer window. However, even with the given options the Royal Whites boast assurance and grit in their back-line.

The likely occupants on the flanks would be Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy, who have both produced great exhibitions throughout the campaign.

Ferland Mendy has the full trust of Carlo Ancelotti. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Carvajal is known to punish defensive lines and on the defensive end, his anticipation of forwards has been equally appreciable.

Meanwhile, Mendy’s resurgence this season has earned him immense faith from the coaching staff, as his defensive aptitude continues to set him apart.

In the centre-back positions, Real Madrid are expected to rely on the dependable figures of Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao.

Real Madrid consider Rudiger to be indispensable owing to his front-footed style and the important role he has had to play amidst the injury crisis. Similarly, Militao is valued by the team as he proceeds to regain match fitness after recovering from a long-term injury.

Midfield

The void of Toni Kroos in midfield will compel coach Carlo Ancelotti and co. to
reconsider their midfield strategy.

Real Madrid will be unable to count on Kroos next season. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Thankfully for Real Madrid, their succession stage had begun a while ago and they have ample options to trust in the center of the park.

With Aurelien Tchouameni protecting the base of midfield, Real Madrid will possess security and deep progression.

Ahead, occupying the interior midfield positions, Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga are well-suited to provide a combination of energy off the ball and threat in possession.

And to put the cherry on top, Jude Bellingham’s place as the number 10 behind the two strikers would certify his status as a pivotal playmaker and scorer in the team’s setup.

However, he is adept at making third-man runs and connecting the midfield with the offence and could play deeper to not only make up for Kroos’ absence but also facilitate more options up front.

Attack

Real Madrid’s offensive department is where the largest reform is expected to take place.

Kylian Mbappe’s goalscoring instincts need little introduction by now and he is thus anticipated to be fielded as the striker.

Vinicius Jr. is expected to take up the position as a secondary striker drifting from the left, something he has become quite accustomed to this season.

Endrick will have to battle for a starting spot. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

It is worth noting that Endrick could also play a part by either replacing Vinicius off the bench and playing off Mbappe.

It remains to be seen how many men forward Ancelotti will commit to but the presence of Mbappe and Vinicius seems set in stone, given their huge profiles and status in world football. How the manager uses Rodrygo Goes will be interesting to see as well.

All in all, considering Ancelotti’s proficiency in profiling players, Madrid fans can expect to see these stars play in favourable environments.

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