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Two changes in midfield: 4-3-3 Predicted Real Madrid lineup against Celtic



Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

After Arsenal’s loss to Manchester United yesterday, Real Madrid are the only remaining team in the top five leagues with a perfect record. They have won all four of their games in the 2022/23 season, scoring 11 goals and conceding four.

Their goal this season is to retain the Champions League and La Liga, both, and the journey for the former begins tomorrow in Glasgow, Scotland. Los Blancos are pinned against Celtic for the opening round of the UCL group stages.

Celtic have had a stunning start to their season in the Scottish Premiership, obtaining all possible points in six games, while scoring a mammoth 25 goals.

At the 60,000-seater Celtic Park, the defending Scottish champs will prove to be a lot more trouble than Madrid will be hoping for.

It’s the first game of the UCL season, and Carlo Ancelotti does not have a lot of reasons to rotate too much of his best team tomorrow. We at Madrid Universal predict how Real Madrid will line up tomorrow against Celtic.


Even though he is yet to claim his first clean sheet of the season, Thibaut Courtois has started this season exactly where he left off. In fact, things could be much different for Madrid without him. Tomorrow, he will start in goal, hoping the net doesn’t bulge once.

With Jesus Vallejo and Nacho still possibly out injured, we do not expect a lot of changes in the defence. David Alaba could be forced out wide as the left-back, while Lucas Vazquez comes in to replace Daniel Carvajal at right-back.

In the centre, Antonio Rudiger is overdue for game-time, and is expected to get exactly that tomorrow. He will partner Eder Militao in the heart of the defence.


Eduardo Camavinga had a rather underwhelming display against Real Betis last week, but should be awarded with a second consecutive start regardless. He will, however, replace Aurelien Tchouameni as the lone pivot in the midfield trident.

Ancelotti has to do his best to preserve Luka Modric, and therefore, it is likely that the Croatian starts from the bench tomorrow. In his place, Toni Kroos returns, playing as one of the advanced interiors.

The final piece of the puzzle could be Dani Ceballos, who has done just enough for Ancelotti to start him. Should he do well, he could be in line to retain his place for the RCD Mallorca game this weekend.

Time to come off the bench. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)


Federico Valverde was brought in from the bench in the 63rd minute and assisted Rodrygo for the winner with one of his first touches of the game. There is little to no chance he starts as a substitute two games in a row.

Vinicus Jr, etched his name on the scoresheet, too, and now has three goals and an assist in four games this season. He should be one of the first names in the starting lineup with the kind of form he is in.

Finally, Karim Benzema is expected to complete the XI as the centre-forward. Despite scoring three goals already, the Frenchman has been surprisingly hit-and-miss in front of the goal, missing seven big chances. He will be hoping a goal or two in the Champions League tomorrow can change his fortunes.

Vinicus · Benzema · Valverde
Kroos · Camavinga · Ceballos
Alaba · Rudiger · Militao · Vazquez


If Ancelotti does, indeed, opt to use this midfield, we expect Aurilien Tchouameni and Luka Modric to be one of the first ones to be brought on in the second half.

Ferland Mendy is in contention to be subbed in as well, giving one of Militao or Alaba some much-needed rest. The same goes for Rodrygo, who could get the nod to replace Vinicius or Valverde if things are going well.

Eden Hazard has not stepped off the bench in the last two games, but tomorrow is the perfect opportunity for him to win back some lost confidence.

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Three talking points from Real Madrid 1-0 Union Berlin



Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid kicked off their UEFA Champions League campaign on Wednesday night with a narrow 1-0 win over Union Berlin.

The victory was deserved from the point of view of domination of play. Real Madrid were the only team attacking for large parts of the night and created chances to no end.

Yet, one must tip the hat to the visitors’ resilient defence. Playing the first UEFA Champions League clash in the club’s history is difficult enough, let alone at the Santiago Bernabeu. Union Berlin did so and with some style.

Until the 93rd minute, a draw appeared to be the most probable result. The visitors refused to cave into Real Madrid’s relentless attacks and poured their hearts out on the field.

In the end, however, Carlo Ancelotti’s men did what they do best. A last-minute winner from Jude Bellingham gave the hosts all three points.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points from Real Madrid 1-0 Union Berlin.

The power of Real Madrid

Real Madrid are one of the few teams in the world that can never be written off. Such is the ability of the team, more so under Carlo Ancelotti, that they can pull off a win even after a howler.

Their unfair advantage, in part, owes itself to the ridiculous individual quality they possess on the field. Any player is capable of turning the game around with a moment of magic.

Yet, the most important factor that works in their favour is the mental resilience in the squad. Real Madrid never believe it is over until it really is, and Wednesday night’s game provided further reassurance as to why they are the mentality monsters.

For 90 minutes, the visitors frustrated Real Madrid to the limit. They stuck to their defensive lines with discipline and did not give Los Blancos much to work with.

Yet, Real Madrid’s perseverance was visible through the ordeal. The intensity of their attacks amplified with every passing minute and showed no signs of tapering down.

Poetically, they found the winning goal in the final minute of added time when all doors seemed closed, with Jude Bellingham being the hero yet again.

Forwards need to step up

Rodrygo, Joselu need to step up. (Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images)

The men in white had 75% of the possession on Wednesday night at Santiago Bernabeu and kept making the required penetrative attacks. 

In 90 minutes, the hosts racked up an xG tally of 3.80. Yet, shockingly, they were goalless even in the penultimate minute of the game.

Real Madrid took 32 shots against Union Berlin as opposed to the opposition’s four. Seven shots were on target while 10 were blocked. 

In terms of big chances, the me in white churned up five in the 90 minutes of which they missed four. They also struck the woodwork twice last night.

The team’s struggles in the final third place the spotlight on Rodrygo Goes and Joselu, who were the team’s two forwards at Santiago Bernabeu. Both players suffered disappointing nights in front of goal and just could not catch a break from their poor luck.

The Spaniard had three shots on target, five off it, and three attempts blocked against Union Berlin. All of it, however, was in vain. 

The Brazilian was not much better with three shots and one blocked chance. Nevertheless, their poor results were not for a lack of trying if that is any silver lining.

Far from convincing 

Real Madrid’s mentality and fortitude to push for a win is indeed a reason to be optimistic. However, that does not hide the fact that the men in white struggled and toiled on to no end.

The Champions League has no minnows, but one would expect Real Madrid to show their dominance at some point in the game and close the deal. However, that spell of play never arrived.

Los Blancos may be on a six-game winning streak so far this season, but there is reason to believe that a factor of luck has been essential for most of their scalps.

All eyes will thus be on Ancelotti now. The manager has a world-class roster at his disposal, and it will now be up to him to enhance Real Madrid’s performance in the final third. After all, putting away chances is as important as creating them.

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