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Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Eintracht Frankfurt

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Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

The first clash of the new season stands a day away from Real Madrid, as they get ready to take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Super Cup. With the game comes the opportunity to secure the first silverware of the season, a chance the team will look to capitalise on.

To see the glory, however, Carlo Ancelotti’s men will face a stern test. The German club were not dubbed amongst the favourites to win the Europa League but pulled off upset after upset to win it all.

Their most notable result was an emphatic 4-3 win over Barcelona in the Quarterfinals. Oliver Glasner’s held the Catalans to a 1-1 draw at home before decimating them at Camp Nou.

Ancelotti will have a full-strength squad at his disposal at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium. While the team should be confident of getting the better of the Bundesliga side, overconfidence can be fatal on the night.

1. Carlo Ancelotti’s strange decision

Last week, it was reported that the Real Madrid manager was against using the new signings for the UEFA Super Cup. Ancelotti wanted the same team that won the UCL to clinch the cup in Helsinki in what was a strange but understandable decision.

While it is not confirmed whether the decision is final, one could well expect Antonio Rudiger and Aurelien Tchouameni to start on the bench against Eintracht Frankfurt.

David Alaba and Eder Militao will thus start in central defence with Ferland Mendy deployed at left-back. In midfield, Casemiro will start as the pivot with the experienced Luka Modric and Toni Kroos placed ahead of him.

2. A new chapter for Karim Benzema

Benzema has become a bonafide legend during his decade-long spell at the club. His importance in the team has grown leaps and bounds over the past two seasons after he took over as the primary goalscorer.

Yet, there are always new avenues to explore, and Benzema stands in front of one. Following Marcelo’s departure, the Frenchman was named the first captain of the team. The game on Wednesday night will be the first game under his full captaincy and possibly the first trophy too.

While he has held the armband before on multiple occasions, he was Marcelo or Sergio Ramos’ deputy.

On an individual level, the veteran will look to keep up with his astronomical standards. Benzema has always been one to step up on the big occasions and produce goals on demand. Needless to say, all eyes will be on him when Real Madrid take on Glasner’s side.

3. The absence of Filip Kostic

Not having Kostic is a huge blow for Frankfurt. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Last season, Filip Kostic was Eintracht Frankfurt’s best player by a country mile. The 29-year-old played as a left-midfielder for the German club and was the primary creative outlet for his team.

In 31 Bundesliga appearances, he scored four goals and provided nine assists for his side last season. In the decisive quarterfinal game against Barcelona, he delivered two goals and an assist at Camp Nou to knock out Xavi’s side.

However, the midfield star will not play against Real Madrid this week. Juventus are prepared to complete the 29-year-old’s signing,, and the deal is already in its final stages.

Because of his imminent transfer, Glasner left out Kostic from his squad for the Super Cup. Needless to say, this comes as big news for Los Blancos as they will now face an opposition devoid of its best player.

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Features

Real Madrid 3-1 Atletico Madrid: Player Ratings

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Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

A scintillating Madrid derby saw Real Madrid leap past Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid by a scoreline of 3-1 to book a place in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey. As one-sided as the scoreline looks, the game was far from that.

Atletico Madrid took the early lead through Alvaro Morata in the first half and held onto their lead for close to an hour. However, Rodrygo had other plans and equalised for the hosts with a stunning solo strike to force extra time.

Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr then scored in the first and second periods of extra time to give Real Madrid the win. Notably, Los Rojiblancos were down to ten men by that point, with Stefan Savic having been sent off.

Madrid Universal brings you the player ratings for both teams at the Madrid derby.

Real Madrid

Thibaut Courtois: 8.5

Absolutely gargantuan. Made a whopping five saves to keep his side in the game throughout, including four from inside the box.

Nacho Fernandez: 7.5

Playing as a right-back, Nacho did a great job at controlling Reinildo and Antoine Griezmann.

Eder Militao: 8

Calm, cool, and composed. 13 recoveries, seven clearances, four headed clearances, one interception and six duels won in addition to a game-high 117 passes.

Antonio Rudiger: 7

Tight performance from the German, was part of Real Madrid’s resilient defence that prevented an Atleti equaliser late on.

Ferland Mendy: 4

One of the Merengues’ worst players in the first half, limited their width in the final third and did not involve in the buildup. Replaced before half-time after suffering an injury.

Luka Modric: 7.5

Played the full 120 minutes and returned to his imperial best after a mild slump in recent games. Had 136 touches, completed 94% of his passes. Led the team with 22 passes into the final third and assisted Rodrygo’s opener.

Eduardo Camavinga: 7

Solid yet again. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Did well as the pivot against Simeone’s men, and showed the world that he can compete with Aurelien Tchouameni for a spot as the holding midfielder.

Toni Kroos: 7

Reliable as ever in his 74 minutes on the field. Completed 97% of his passes, created two chances and had 11 passes into the final third. Defensively, he recorded six recoveries, a headed clearance, two clearances and won three duels.

Federico Valverde: 6

A relatively sub-par performance from the Uruguayan. Took five shots against Real Madrid, but only one hit the target. Looked slightly off from the get-go but did not make any glaring mistakes either.

Karim Benzema: 8

A lively presence in attack created three chances and took four shots on the night. Had his big moment in the first half of extra time when he found himself at the receiving end of Rodrygo’s ball across the goal. Faced with an open goal, the Frenchman gave his side the lead.

Vinicius Jr: 8.5

Phenomenal, as is the norm. Was a constant threat down the left flank, and created five chances including a big chance. Got the assist to his name on the night, though Rodrygo deservedly can claim to have been the one to spot Benzema’s good position.

Scored a solo golazo in the final minute of the game to make it 3-1 after he ran past the entire Atleti defence and beat Oblak with a low shot.

SUBSTITUTES

Dani Ceballos: 8.5

Kept up his good form in the derby, and found Vinicius for the final goal of the game. Sensational cameo with 120 touches despite not playing the first half.

Rodrygo: 9

Game-changer. (Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images)

The youngster came on in the 70th minute for Valverde and got on the scoreboard just ten minutes later. Scored a world-class goal to level things up by running beyond four Atletico defenders and poking the ball past Oblak.

Was a lively presence throughout, and injected energy into Real Madrid’s forward line when they needed it the most. Assisted the second goal with great presence of mind.

Marco Asensio: 3

Discouraging cameo disappeared on the field after coming on.

Atletico Madrid

Jan Oblak: 6

Continued his poor run of form. Could have reacted better to both Rodrygo and Vinicius’ goals as he was easily beaten near the post.

Nahuel Molina: 7.5

The Argentine’s one-touch ball across the face of the goal after receiving Koke’s pass was the reason Los Rojiblancos could take the lead. Was massive in defence with six recoveries and three clearances. Not much he could do about the goals scored by Real.

Stefan Savic: 5

The veteran centre-back was taken to the cleaners by Rodrygo for Real Madrid’s equaliser but was solid for most of the remainder of the game. 

Made a headless decision to commit to a late poor tackle on Camavinga. As a result, he saw a second yellow and left his team a man down for extra time.

Mario Hermoso: 6.5

Average performance from the Spanish defender was left to fight a lone bate after Savic’s sending-off.

Reinildo: 5

One of the Rojiblancos’ most disappointing players against Real Madrid. Offered absolutely nothing in the final third and suffered defensively against Rodrygo in the second half.

Koke: 6.5

Was absolutely vital for Atletico’s opening goal as he found Molina with a very difficult lofted ball. However, a relatively average performance from the Spanish veteran apart from his moment of magic. Nothing flashy.

Rodrigo de Paul: 7

The World Cup winner played over 80 minutes and drove Atletico’s midfield. Created two chances and a big chance, and completed 90% of his attempted 71 passes. 

Thomas Lemar: 4.5

Barely visible in his 75 minutes on the field, no major contributions or extensive involvement in Atletico’s play.

Antoine Griezmann: 6.5

Knocked out. (Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images)

Led the charge for Atletico in attack and put in a hard-working defensive performance to back it up. Yet, one would expect more impact from a player of his stature.

Angel Correa: 5

Was a shadow of his true self, and lost a game-high nine duels at Santiago Bernabeu. 

Alvaro Morata: 8

Helped Atletico Madrid take the lead against his former club with a simple finish into an open goal. Had just 12 passes in 63 minutes, and completed just six. Could not record a single shot on goal apart from the one he scored from.

SUBSTITUTES

Axel Witsel: 4.5

Came on at the hour mark for Morata as Diego Simeone looked to flip on the defensive switch. Created and missed a big chance each during his stay on the field but was horribly undone by Rodrygo for the Merengues’ equaliser. Involved in another mess-up in Real Madrid’s second as he failed to clear the ball.

Yannick Carrasco: 4

Just 22 touches and 14 passes in close to 45 minutes of action. 

Memphis Depay: 6

Had a good chance to equalise in the 109th minute but put forward a tame effort. A good cameo from the Dutchman from a creative perspective, nevertheless.

Saul Niguez: 6

Good defensive numbers in his cameo but could not give Simeone’s side any edge in the final third. 

Geoffrey Kondogbia: 6

Nothing flashy from the central midfielder completed 100% of his attempted dribbles.

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