Preview: Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo
Photo by A. Ware/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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Toni Kroos is as ferocious as a doom to Celta Vigo as the German sniper has scored against them in each of the last five years. But Real Madrid would definitely need something more than Toni Kroos to get past a spirited Celta Vigo side on Sunday. Barcelona are equal on points after their narrow win against Getafe on Saturday but Real Madrid are eager to keep the three-point lead intact. Welcome to our first Real Madrid match preview in a week’s time.

An old foe, a new goal

Real Madrid faced Celta Vigo on matchday 1 of the La Liga season. Madrid won 3-1 on that afternoon but a lot has changed at the white club since then. Real Madrid struggled through some difficult months but they still find themselves at the pinnacle of the La Liga table. Celta Vigo is never an easy opponent to face but Real Madrid do not have an alternative to keep their top position apart from winning apart from beating the men in sky-blue. Madridistas have clearly not forgotten how Celta hampered their bid to the title in 2014 under none other than Luis Enrique, the former treble-winning manager of Barcelona and the current national team manager of Spain.        

Team News

Real Madrid

It’s been almost three months since Eden Hazard set foot on a football pitch, in an official game. But the good news that Real Madrid fans have been awaiting has finally arrived. Hazard is finally included in the matchday squad but James misses out. Zidane has also left out Rodrygo and Lucas out of this home fixture. Here’s the full squad: 

Alphonse Areola, Thibaut Courtois, Toni Fuidias, Dani Carvajal, Éder Militão, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Marcelo, Ferland Mendy, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro, Fede Valverde, Isco, Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Luka Jović, Vinicius Jr.

Celta Vigo

Oscar Garcia’s 20-man squad consists of the following players:

Sergio Álvarez, Araujo, Okay, Denis Suárez, Juan Hernández, Fran Beltrán, Smolov, Iago Aspas, Sisto, Rafinha, Rubén Blanco, Bradarić, Olaza, Aidoo, G. Fernández, Kevin, Murillo, Santi Mina, Brais Méndez and Iván Villar. 

 

What to Expect  

Zidane is very close to having his full squad for the first time in the La Liga season. Eden Hazard’s return to the matchday squad breathes some fresh breath of air into the team that is approaching the business end of the season. Hazard is unlikely to feature from the beginning of the match but he should come onto the pitch at some point in time. Zidane defense and Midfield are pretty much set but the choice to accompany Benzema upfront might give him some headache. Bale’s return is also a positive sign for the team but Vinicius’ inclusion in a traditional 4-3-3 is pretty much guaranteed after a string of good outings from the youngster. 

On the other hand, Celta Vigo would be coming at the home side with the 4-3-3 formation as well. We all know the damage Iago Aspas can cause to the well-formed defenses of La Liga. Former Barcelona star Rafinha Alcantara would also be a threat to Zidane’s men. 

Head to Head

Last 18 matches

Real Madrid: 13

Draws: 2

Celta Vigo: 3

Form

Real Madrid: W L W W W 

Celta Vigo: W L D L D

Probable Line-ups

Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Isco, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.

Celta Vigo: Blanco; Aidoo, Murillo, Araujo; Vazquez, Beltran, Yokuslu, Rafinha, Lucas; Sisto, aspas. 

Players to Watch

Toni Kroos, Real Madrid

Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Iago Aspas, Celta Vigo

Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Kick-off

21:00 CET, Santiago Bernabéu

Referee

Javier Alberola Rojas

Key Quotes

“The key is to keep on doing what we’ve been doing in terms of focus, intensity, and tempo. We know who we’re up against tomorrow and that they don’t deserve to be where they are in the table because they’re a very good sides in every sense. It’ll be tough, just like all the games are.” – Zinedine Zidane

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