Real Madrid will be on the hunt for their first win in the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League when they play Belgian giants Club Brugge on Tuesday.
Real Madrid will be looking to get off the mark in this season’s UEFA Champions League when they host Belgian league leaders Club Brugge in their second Group A fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid’s preparations for the game have been boosted by the return of Marcelo and Isco, both of whom are fully fit and have been included in the 19-man squad named by Zinedine Zidane. However, Ferland Mendy and Marco Asensio remain out with injuries, while the manager has opted to leave Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez out of the squad.
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Captain Sergio Ramos and fellow defender Nacho are available for selection after missing the PSG game due to suspension. Both are expected to start against Club Brugge, with Ramos partnering Raphael Varane at the heart of the defence, while Nacho occupies the left-back slot ahead of the fit-again Marcelo.
Dani Carvajal should complete the backline for Real Madrid, starting at right-back, while Thibaut Courtois is expected to continue between the sticks on Tuesday night ahead of Alphonse Areola.
Casemiro has been integral to Real Madrid’s form improving over the past couple of weeks. The Brazilian international should once again occupy the holding midfield role for the Merengues. Toni Kroos, who was the standout player for Madrid in the derby this past weekend, should also feature from the get-go.
While Federico Valverde has done well in his last two appearances, the Uruguayan is likely to drop out to the bench for Tuesday’s contest. With James Rodriguez not part of the squad and Isco returning from injury only recently, Luka Modric should get the nod in the third central midfield slot after he made his return from injury against Atletico.
Eden Hazard’s form has been a cause for concern among the Real Madrid faithful. The marquee summer signing has struggled to impose himself at his new club and put in a disappointing display against Atletico last weekend. However, manager Zidane has said he has complete faith in him and expects him to come good soon.
Speaking of the Belgian in his pre-match presser, the manager said, “We know he’s an important player for us. He knows we want more from him, but we have to stay calm. I’m not worried at all. He will succeed here and will be very good. I know he will succeed here, you have to be patient and get behind him because he’s going to move forward.”
Hazard should hold on to his spot on the left flank, but there will be one change made in attack after Zidane opted to leave Bale out of the 19-man squad announced on the eve of the game. Replacing the Welsh wing wizard on the right flank should be Lucas Vazquez. Karim Benzema should continue to spearhead the attack for the hosts against the Belgian league leaders.
Predicted Real Madrid XI (4-1-4-1): Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Nacho; Casemiro; Vazquez, Modric, Kroos, Hazard; Benzema