Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal will return, but Eden Hazard and Federico Valverde are ruled out as Real Madrid get set to take on Borussia Monchengladbach.
Real Madrid will lock horns with Borussia Monchengladbach in their final Group B encounter of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League knowing that a defeat on Wednesday will send them packing out of the tournament.
Ahead of this must-win clash at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Los Blancos have been handed a major injury boost as club captain Sergio Ramos and fellow defender Dani Carvajal have returned to full fitness and are named in the 21-man squad for the game.
However, Zinedine Zidane will once again be without Eden Hazard and Federico Valverde, although the latter is closing in a return. “He’s better and coming back little by little. He’s progressing well and improving. He’ll be with us soon. He had a bad injury, but he’s much better now,” Zidane said about Valverde in his pre-match press conference.
The Merengues will also be without Mariano Diaz and Luka Jovic, who has a muscle injury, while Martin Odegaard also misses out.
The returning Ramos and Carvajal should walk right back into the starting lineup, slotting in at centre-back and right-back respectively. Partnering Ramos at the heart of the Real Madrid defence should be Raphael Varane, while Ferland Mendy should get the nod over Marcelo on the left. Thibaut Courtois will guard the Merengues’ goal against Gladbach.
There are no changes expected in midfield, with the trifecta of Casemiro, Luka Modric, and Toni Kroos expected to be retained in the lineup. The former will act as the screen for what has been a vulnerable backline of late against a free-scoring Borussia Monchengladbach outfit, while the latter two will be in charge of the creative duties.
Up ahead in attack, with still no Hazard available, Vinicius Junior, who made the difference for Real Madrid against Sevilla this past weekend, should start on the left flank. Marco Asensio, meanwhile, should edge out the likes of Lucas Vazquez and Rodrygo Goes for a starting berth on the right-wing.
Karim Benzema is the undisputed starter as the lone striker for Real Madrid. The lack of cover for the Frenchman, with both Jovic and Mariano unavailable, could be a major concern for the hosts.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Junior.