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Three talking points ahead of Union Berlin vs Real Madrid | La Liga

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Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

The UEFA Champions League is back after a two-week hiatus and returns with a critical match-day where a lot stands to be decided. As the curtains rise on the night teams fight for their very survival in the competition, Real Madrid are faced with a trip to Germany to take on Union Berlin.

The last time the two teams met was back in September. On the night, the Germans pulled off a defensive masterclass to pile the pressure on Carlo Ancelotti’s men and push for a draw.

Yet, their hope was crushed by a single moment of magic from Jude Bellingham. The Real Madrid star-boy scored in the 94th minute of the game to break German hearts and hand them a defeat in the opening game of the season.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points from Union Berlin vs Real Madrid.

Making amends

Real Madrid’s fixture at the weekend was tricky. Los Blancos were faced against Real Betis at Benito Villamarin and were made to work hard throughout the ninety minutes against the in-form hosts.

Ancelotti’s men did eventually get the lead through Jude Bellingham but Los Verdiblancos found a means to strike back with a jaw-dropping goal from distance. The play that followed saw both sides push high in attack for a winner, and it is safe to say that the draw was deserved.

As Ancelotti pointed out in his post-match press conference, the 1-1 result was not seen with very critical eyes by the management. Yet, it did have serious implications for the league standings.

Real Madrid’s hiccup at the weekend gave Girona the chance to take the sole lead in La Liga with a win over Barcelona. Michel’s men pulled off the result, and are thus the sole leaders by a whole two points after 16 match days.

If the draw teaches one lesson, thus, it would have to be the sheer perfection demanded in today’s world of football. Every point dropped can prove pivotal, for there is no room for error.

Los Blancos will thus look to return to winning ways tomorrow night. Taking on Union Berlin in the UEFA Champions League, the game provides them with the perfect platform to hit back and get back on song.

The final Matchday

Real Madrid are through to the UCL Ro16. (Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images)

The Merengues have been simply unstoppable in the UEFA Champions League this season. Drawn alongside Napoli, SC Braga, and Union Berlin, it was not going to be easy for Ancelotti’s men, yet they sit comfortably at the top of the table.

Five matchdays into the UCL calendar, Real Madrid sit on a staggering 15 points. They have won all five of their group stage encounters so far, and in the process, have guaranteed their position as table-toppers.

Their lead over the second-placed Napoli is a staggering seven points, and that only goes to show their dominance in this year’s competition.

Tuesday night brings forth the team’s final challenge at this stage of the competition. The result is seemingly meaningless for the men in white from a qualification scenario, but they will be eager to make it six out of six at An der alten Forsterei in Berlin.

Rotations at the forefront

Having played less than 72 hours ago, the midweek clash comes very early for Real Madrid. That, coupled with the team’s already guaranteed qualification, places Ancelotti in a favourable position from a rotations standpoint.

One can thus expect wholesale changes from the manager on the night, beginning from the staff in goal. After a run of six strong games, Andriy Lunin will start on the bench on the night with Kepa Arrizabalaga taking his place as confirmed by the manager.

Antonio Rudiger is likely the man in defence who enjoys a hiatus. Nacho Fernandez should take the German star’s place in the lineup alongside David Alaba. Fran Garcia and Lucas Vazquez will take over as the full-backs.

Considering the deficit of resources in the middle of the park, Ancelotti could opt to hand young Nico Paz his first start for the senior team. The youngster has made a strong impression in his recent cameos and he could play on the left of the midfield-four.

The final rotation one can expect is the return of Joselu to the starting lineup. After all, Rodrygo deserves the rest after a hectic set of games, giving the Spanish striker a chance to prove his mettle on the big stage.

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Features

Four reasons why Real Madrid must sign Leny Yoro right away

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Photo by SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid have been eyeing 18-year-old Lille centre-back Leny Yoro for several months. However, the uncertainty surrounding his arrival, whether this summer or next, has stirred much debate.

The primary obstacle is financial; Lille are holding out for a big transfer fee for their prized asset. But with Yoro’s contract set to expire in 12 months, Real Madrid are hesitant to make a significant investment.

Despite this, there are compelling reasons for the club to secure the 18-year-old’s services this summer.

Here are four reasons why Florentino Perez and Jose Angel Sanchez must go all out for the French teenager in the current transfer window.

1. The injury crisis

One of the most pressing reasons for Real Madrid to act now is the club’s recent struggle with injuries. Last season, the team faced one of the most severe injury crises in its history.

Just 48 hours before the start of the La Liga season, Thibaut Courtois suffered an ACL rupture in training. The opening match against Athletic Club saw another blow as Eder Militao also tore his ACL.

Leny Yoro is a top target for Real Madrid. (Photo by SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The injury woes did not end there. David Alaba, another key defender, suffered a similar fate in mid-December, tearing his ACL and subsequently damaging his meniscus.

These injuries left the team vulnerable, forcing Carlo Ancelotti to rely heavily on Antonio Rudiger. The German took on an immense workload, as he became one of the most frequently played players throughout the campaign.

Given this context, bolstering the defence with a promising young talent like Yoro is not just a luxury but a necessity. His presence would provide much-needed depth and help mitigate the risks associated with potential injuries to key defenders.

2. Contractual Concerns

Waiting until next summer to sign Yoro for free could be a gamble that backfires. While his contract with Lille is set to expire in 12 months, this period could see significant changes.

Lille might succeed in convincing the player to renew his contract, potentially including a substantial release clause. Such a scenario would make it more challenging and costly for Real Madrid to secure his signature.

Moreover, Yoro is already on the radar of several top European clubs like Manchester United and PSG. If Real Madrid delay their move, they risk losing him to another team.

The competitive nature of the transfer market means that any delay could see another club convincing Yoro to join them, especially if they present a more immediate and attractive offer.

3. Age and Potential

Yoro could be an excellent investment for Real Madrid. (Photo by SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images)

Leny Yoro’s age and potential make him an ideal long-term investment for Real Madrid. At just 18 years old, he has the potential to develop into a world-class centre-back.

With over 15 years of football ahead of him, the Frenchman represents a strategic acquisition that could solidify the Merengues’ defence for the next decade or more.

The departure of former captain Nacho Fernandez has left a void in the defence. This exit makes the need for a new centre-back even more urgent.

Yoro, standing at 1.88 meters, offers the physical presence and defensive capabilities that Real Madrid need. His youth also means he can be moulded to fit the club’s playing style and ethos, ensuring continuity and stability in the defensive line.

4. Fixture overload next season

Real Madrid played 56 games in all competitions in the 2023/24 season. If they do not make it past the group stage in any of the cup competitions in 2024/25, they will still play 59 games. Making it to the finals in all will result in 70 games all season.

This requires squad death for the upcoming season. With David Alaba still not back from injury and likely to return in 2025, Real Madrid’s options at centre-back ahead of the new season are Rudiger and Militao, with Aurelien Tchouameni a makeshift alternative.

As such, signing Yoro this summer will be a massive boost for the team to face the upcoming season, where the team will travel across three continents from July to May, playing around 70 games.

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