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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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Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Osasuna

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

After a two-week hiatus from club football, Real Madrid return to action on Sunday night in a home game against Osasuna. The league leaders have been unstoppable so far this season, and the objective at the Bernabeu will be to keep their fine form going.

Jagoba Arrasate’s side have enjoyed a positive start to the season with four wins in six games so far. The Pamplona-based side sit sixth in the league standings ahead of the likes of Villarreal and Atletico Madrid.

Carlo Ancelotti will make several changes in his starting lineup on the night – some forced and some out of choice. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Los Blancos’ weekend clash.

1. Time to kick in the nitros

Real Madrid have been flawless this season and are the only club in the European top-flight to have not dropped a single point. While their start to the season has been nothing short of a fairytale, one wonders how long they can keep the magical streak going.

The month of October brings with it one of the most hectic schedules the club has seen in recent years. Over the next 30 days, Los Blancos play nine games across all competitions. In short, the equation boils down to a game every three days.

To come out on top in all nine games will require a superhuman effort from the Real Madrid players, but one knows well that the squad is capable of it. The team are in a strong headspace, and injecting the right amount of fuel at this point could propel their throttle and see them weather the storm.

A job well begun is half done, and Carlo Ancelotti will hope that his men can make a strong start to the month on Sunday night.

2. Coping without Modric

Godric. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

The FIFA International break has been cruel to clubs across the globe, with several key players returning injured and facing several weeks on the sidelines. The story for Real Madrid is no different.

Luka Modric played every minute of Croatia’s two friendlies in the last two weeks and even scored a goal in their 3-1 win over Austria. However, he suffered an injury to his hip and faces 8-10 days on the sidelines.

The veteran, at 37 years of age, has arguably been Real Madrid’s best player this season. In eight games, he has scored two goals and provided one assist for Los Blancos and continues to show the world why he is one of the best the game has seen.

Modric is expected to return for the Clasico in two weeks. However, one cannot help but wonder how Ancelotti compensates for such a big void.

It has been reported that the manager sees Dani Ceballos as the ideal man for the job. The 26-year-old impressed when given the start against Mallorca earlier this season, making four key passes and bagging one assist. Now, he could have his moment and a chance to prove his worth to the manager.

In Modric’s absence, Ceballos could start alongside Aurelien Tchouameni and Toni Kroos in the middle of the park. With Eduardo Camavinga quickly climbing up the pecking order, the 26-year-old must make the most of his chance on Sunday to secure a place in the coming games.

3. The return of the gladiator

After a slow start to the season, Karim Benzema bounced back with a brace against Espanyol on Matchday three. Just when it seemed like he had found his stride, however, he suffered a thigh injury and was ruled out for close to three weeks.

While the team found alternate sources of goals in his absence, it was clear that Los Blancos lacked a dominant presence in the box in recent weeks. With Benzema’s recovery close to complete, all eyes will be on him to see if he can find his feet again.

In his pre-match press conference, Ancelotti confirmed that the French international would start on Sunday though it is unlikely that he will play all 90 minutes. Nevertheless, this comes as a big relief to Real Madrid, given that they have no natural replacement for the centre-forward.

The captain will look to make a statement on his return on Sunday and will likely be deployed alongside Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo.

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