Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid

September 10, 2011; 18:00 GMT


After the international break, the season restarts with Real Madrid playing their second league game, their first home game this season, at the Santiago Bernabéu against Getafe. Despite both clubs  in Madrid, there is no animosity between the clubs and instead Getafe and Madrid are renowned for their friendship which enables them to exchange players at will. In short, it’s a friendly derby.

The international break notwithstanding, Spanish football did not actually take a break off the pitch as Sevilla president Del Nido called for a balanced TV rights deal to reduce the duopoly of Madrid and Barcelona, in a meeting with the other presidents except those of the Big Two.

It remains to be seen what option is ultimately exercised to reduce the rift between the lower clubs and the top two; a rift made all the more evident in the way FC Barcelona dismantled Villarreal, a Champions’ League team 5-0 and Madrid humiliated Zaragoza 6-0.

Malaga and Getafe have been acquired by new owners but while Malaga have been very clear with their ambitions, Getafe’s new owners promised things that are yet to materialize. Except perhaps the appointment of Luis García, Levante’s coach last year who also happened to be THT’s La Liga Manager of the Year last season. There has been a lot of transfer activity at Coliseum Alfonso Pérez with some players sold and some on loan, but how their season pans out remains to be seen.

Team News and Tactical Brief

Real Madrid

After the drama involving Carvalho’s international retirement, the focus will surely be on the Portuguese central defense pairing of Carvalho and Pepe. Pepe and Mourinho have categorically denied reports of a rift between the two and fans will be hoping that is the case. They are expected to be starting in central defense tomorrow covering Iker Casillas.

Sergio Ramos and Marcelo are expected to retain their places as full backs and Xabi Alonso will play the deep play-maker’s role as always. Khedira remains doubtful for the clash which increases the chances of Coentrão starting alongside the Spanish maestro. Lassana has not been sold contrary to those summer rumors but is not expected to feature in the first XI anytime soon.

Against Real Zaragoza, Kaká had a great impact coming on as a sub while Di Maria did not have a particularly impressive game. Perhaps Kaká could start as the play-maker and interchange positions with Özil who will start on the flanks .

With Ronaldo and Benzema running into each other, against Zaragoza, Mourinho needs to impress on them the importance of giving each other space. Higuain will, in all probability, stay on the bench.

Şahin and Altintop are still injured while Esteban Granero returns after his bout on the sidelines. Varane has still not made his debut and if things go according to plan, he may as well get his debut at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Possible Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1): Casillas, Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo, Alonso, Coentrao, Ozil, Kaka, Ronaldo, Benzema.

The Teams


In the opening match against his former team, Levante, Luis García’s new wards could only garner a point despite having greater possession and better players. Against Real Madrid, that one point will be as valuable as three against other teams. Luis Garcia knows that the odds are heavily against him.

This summer, Getafe has undergone a huge chance in all the basic departments – ownership, manager and players. Team Dubai has taken over the club, Luis Garcia has been appointed with 11 players leaving the club and 13 coming in. It surely has been one hell of a summer at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez.

Getafe has their No.1 goal keeper, Oscar Ustari, out with a ligament injury and he is expected to be out till atleast the Christmas break. Garcia has played Miguel Moya in place of Ustari and is expected to retain him. The central defense pairing of Alberto Lopo and Daniel Díaz will be entrusted with stopping the wave of Real Madrid attacks. On the right, might feature Miguel Torres, Real Madrid’s academy product, who played for three years in 64 games in the famous white shirt but signed for Getafe in 2009. Mané will be completing the four man defense.

Getafe plays a 4-2-3-1 and the two holding midfielders will comprise Casquero, their captain, and the Algerian, Mehdi Lacen. Garcia employed an offensive line comprising Pedro Ríos, Barrada and Juan Rodríguez against Levante with Miku in front as the sole striker and is not expected to make changes in this department.

Pablo Sarabia, the Real Madrid Castilla star, is also expected to come off the bench, as he did against Levante while Getafe also now have the services of Daniel Güiza who can be thrown into the mix if Miku doesn’t get his act going.

Possible Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1): Moya, Torres, Lopo, Diaz, Mane, Casquero, Lacen, Rios, Rodriguez, Barrada, Miku.

La Liga 2011-12 Results so far:

Zaragoza 0 – 6 Real Madrid

Getafe 1 – 1 Levante


Ricardo Carvalho (Real Madrid)

Carvalho’s retirement drama sparked off many rumors regarding the relationship between him and Pepe. The Portuguese has been immense in defense since his move to the Spanish giants. He will be expected to put in a great performance to prove his point to the national coach, Paulo Bento that he is still good enough to play at the highest level.

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION

Real Madrid 4 – 0 Getafe

It is seemingly inevitable the result will be a victory for Los Merengues against their friendly neighbors at the Santiago Bernabéu. It only remains to be seen how many goals they can put in behind Moya.


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