Champions League winners Real Madrid will travel to Bulgaria as they face débutantes Ludogorets in a game that is likely to turn into a Real goal-fest. Armed with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Rodriguez and Benzema, Madrid are expected to cruise past Ludogorets who put up a strong resistance against Liverpool in their earlier Champions League encounter.
Ludogorets showed themselves to be no push-overs as they visited Anfield and pushed the hosts to fight for a victory. If the Bulgarian club can manage to somehow keep the visitors at bay this time, then the victory is likely to resonate for years to come.
Defenders Aleksandar Aleksandrov and Cosmin Moti are expected to keep Real Madrid at bay with Svetoslav Dyakov playing as a holding midfielder. Anicet will be tasked with the responsibility to lead the club’s attack and will be looking to exploit Madrid’s high defensive line with swift counter-attacks. Though Real Madrid have been scoring plenty of goals this season, they will take consolation in the fact that their defence is equally leaky.
The Bulgarian side is expected to play in their traditional 4-2-3-1 formation with Roman Bezjak leading the attack. Wingers Dani Abalo and Mihail Aleksandrov will have to be acutely aware of their defensive responsibilities as they face Bale and Ronaldo on the flanks.
Expected Starting Line-Up: Stoyanov (GK); Caicara, Aleksandrov, Moti, Minev; Espinho, Dyakov; Aleksandrov, Abalo, Younes; Bezjak
Real Madrid head into the match with their new black jersey and will be expected to strike fear into Ludogorets much in the manner of the dragon on their jersey. Ronaldo is likely to head the team’s attack and the Portuguese will be keen on continuing his amazing goal-scoring record this season. Just three goals shy of Raul’s record of 71 goals in the Champions League, it will not be surprising if Ronaldo manages to equal the record or even surpass it going by his recent goal-scoring rampage.
Playing the traditional 4-2-3-1 with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric dictating the proceedings in the midfield, Ancelotti could rotate the squad and give Illarramendi and Isco some playing time given their hectic schedule this season.
With Pepe still doubtful, Varane will partner Sergio Ramos at the back. Gareth Bale and Benzema are expected to start the game alongside Ronaldo and will be looking to get the names on the score-sheet at the end of the game.
Expected Starting Line-Up: Casillas (GK); Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Modric, Kroos, Bale, Ronaldo, Rodriguez; Benzema
Players to Watch Out For:
There is only one player who is going to command all the attention and he is Cristiano Ronaldo. 8 goals in his last 3 matches, the Portuguese is raring to add to his extra-ordinary tally.
Ludogorets 1-4 Real Madrid