In their final game before the international break, Real Madrid host high flying La Liga debutants Girona FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
As things stand, Los Blancos are two points behind Valencia, who took third place after their victory over Deportivo Alaves on Saturday. Nothing short of victory will suffice on Sunday if Zinedine Zidane’s men wish to reclaim third spot from Los Che before the international break.
As per their last training session report before the game, Real Madrid have no injuries or suspensions and Zidane has a full strength squad to choose and speaking about his side in his pre-match press conference, he said: “Not having any games this week has done us a lot of good and has allowed us to train and recover,” before going on to add “We’ve worked really well this week and are looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”
Zidane is expected to a make a few changes to the side that started in last week’s narrow 1-2 victory over SD Eibar at the Ipurua Muncipal Stadium. Keylor Navas is first choice to start in between the sticks, with Marcelo and Dani Carvajal expected to retain their places in the starting XI.
Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane will likely start once again at the heart of the Real Madrid defence and the midfield trio isn’t expected to change either, with Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos all retaining their places in the middle. Further upfront, however, Gareth Bale and Isco are expected to be benched on Sunday.
Instead, Zidane is expected to ditch the two striker partnership and start with a more traditional front three, with Marco Asensio on the left wing, Lucas Vazquez coming in on the right and Cristiano Ronaldo leading the line for the reigning champions.
The Frenchman had high praise for Vazquez, whose recent form has earned him a Spain call up. “I’m delighted that Lucas Vazquez has been called up by the national team because he deserves to be back and involved,” he said, before going on to add “He’s in fine form and we’re benefiting from that. As his coach, I really value what he brings to the team.”