Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Oct 19, 2013; 14:00 GMT
Real Madrid will resume their season post the international break with a a hint of optimism. As Carlo Ancelotti noted that the team cannot play any worse as they did before the break, it would be interesting to watch the players going through their paces against Malaga at the Santiago Bernabeu.
These two weeks would have given the tactical team at Real Madrid to analyze all their previous games of the season so far and narrow down their deficiencies enabling the team to stay more compact. Lack of organization has been the biggest problem on the pitch and the game against Atletico Madrid provided further evidence of how much disorganized Real Madrid are compared to one of the most organized team in Europe.
Malaga,on the other hand, are not the force they were last season. Life after Isco, Joaquin, Toulalan, Baptista, Saviola and Demichelis is proving to be a bit difficult and understandably so. Bernd Schuster has taken over from Manuel Pellegrini but the expectations are now lower than last year. Anything but a relegation fight would be a decent season for the club which is in financial turmoil.
Schuster knows a thing about a thing or two about Real Madrid. He was fired in 2008 as the coach of Real Madrid when he openly suggested that it was impossible for Real Madrid to beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou. That season Barcelona went on to win a historic treble setting a new trend in football under Pep Guardiola. Now the German is seeking a way to beat the home side and sensing the trouble at Real Madrid, he was clear on what he wants from his players.
“I won’t deny that it’s an attractive game for me,” he said and further analyzed the scenario around Real Madrid. “Madrid is in a strange moment and I am going to go for it. It’s normal that the team retains much of Mourinho. Carlo has arrived with a different philosophy, a different style, a different way of behaving and making the change is a really tough challenge. They are lacking in organisation but I am realistic. To come out of the game with anything we will have to play a great match and they a bad one and even then they can still beat you.”
Team News and Tactical Brief
Ancelotti had to face a torrid time facing questions about Gareth Bale’s protruding back condition and had to jump to the Welshman’s defense when he claimed that he had three disc protrusions in his career and dismissed it saying that such a condition was normal among footballers. The international break was utilised by Bale to make up for his lack of pre-season and fitness levels. The mood has been positive around him at the training complex but as Ancelotti suggested a start may still be not on the cards for the former Spurs winger.
Iker Casillas is another one of Ancelotti’s problems. The Spain captain has been forthright in his views about staying at Real Madrid and has set a deadline of three months to decide on his illustrious career at the Bernabeu. While there are no signs of Casillas starting in La Liga yet, it would be interesting to see how Ancelotti manages this situation as the season progresses and the winter transfer window looms close.
In defense, Raphael Varane is out with an injury which means that Pepe and Ramos could start alongside Carvajal and Marcelo. Ancelotti was straightforward in naming his midfield against Malaga when he stated that Isco, Illarramendi and Khedira would start.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria are expected to start on the wings and because Karim Benzema is still doubtful for the clash, Alvaro Morata may finally get his chance to start as Real Madrid No.9 after his impressive plays off the bench.
Bernd Schuster spoke to MARCA about the game against Real Madrid and let in few important points about his strategy. “Let nobody think that we are coming with a bus, if you just try to defend you are dead; if they put four past us then so be it, but with us stepping up to the plate, putting them under pressure in attack, without taking risks but courageously.
“It’s better to come out of the game with your head held high having given your all. Maybe instead of playing with one forward as we have been we will play with two and take out a midfielder. Let’s see if it works out for us, but if not at least we will have tried.”
Real Madrid are struggling to get going and Malaga are expected to fight for the points. Malaga lost their best players at the start of the season but Schuster has maintained a steady head since then. His team are playing fairly well and defensively they have been more solid than expected. Caballero is an experienced player and his defensive organization would be a good advantage to have.
As explained by Schuster, parking the bus would not be the best option against Real Madrid at home. Malaga would press in midfield but would retain their defensive shape as much as possible to protect them for Real Madrid’s counter attacks. Roque Santa Cruz and Eliseu would be important players if Malaga want to come out of the Bernabeu with any points.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Caballero; Gamez, Sanchez, Chen, Antunes; Darder, Tissone; Portillo, Morales, Eliseu; Santa Cruz
Player To Watch Out For
Marcelo (Real Madrid)
The Brazilian full back’s performances were analyzed by Carlo Ancelotti in the pre-match press conference. While he expressed that he was happy with the offensive ability Marcelo provides, he was also a bit critical about his defensive prowess and indicated that more was expected from the Brazilian international. With Coentrao also fit, it would be interesting to watch Marcelo respond to his coach’s comments.
Real Madrid 3 – 1 Malaga
Malaga are finding their feet while Real Madrid are looking for a new identity. The favorable thing for the latter is that it is a home game and they have no injury worries. It could not be very easy but a victory for Real Madrid is a very probable result.
Blast From The Past