Home » Birthday party with bullfight: Real wants to blow out candles first, then Leipzig’s dreams

Birthday party with bullfight: Real wants to blow out candles first, then Leipzig’s dreams

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Birthday party with bullfight: Real wants to blow out candles first, then Leipzig’s dreams

Preliminary reportMatchday with a birthday: Real Madrid celebrates its 122nd anniversary and invites – but RB Leipzig wants to spoil the game at the Bernabéu. The second leg of the Champions League round of 16 from 9 p.m. turns into a bullfight – who will advance to the quarter-finals?

Los Blancos welcome the Bulls at the Bernabéu from 9 p.m. – Fotos: getty images



the initial situation

The Spanish record champions have a lot of plans: first celebrate their birthday, then reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Because for the club’s 122nd anniversary, RB Leipzig is coming to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (9 p.m., in REAL TOTAL-Live ticker and at DAZN) – first blow out candles, then the hope of the Germans? After the 1-0 win in the first leg, which doesn’t necessarily reflect how the game went, the Spaniards as home team obviously have the best cards, but they still have a fight of at least 90 to a maximum of 120 minutes, if not a bullfight, ahead of them. Real wants to take RB on the horns! Los Blancos have lost some of their form and have only won three of their last six competitive games, but they haven’t lost any either. Still unbeaten at the Bernabéu, Carlo Ancelotti wants to rely not only on the home strength, but also on what is actually the second-best defense in Europe. To then launch one of the infamous counterattacks on Vinícius Júnior? The Brazilian is not only motivated after his brace at the weekend, he is supported compared to the first leg by Jude Bellingham, who is available again – Real’s top scorers were already reunited in the 2-2 draw in Valencia.

The opponent

The royal duo wants and has to stop the Saxons’ changed defense. Compared to the first leg, Leipzig’s right-wing defense, Lukas Klostermann (injured) and Mohamed Simakan (suspended), is not available, and they made life difficult for Vinícius in the first leg. And even though there was a 4-1 win after going behind in the dress rehearsal – the comeback hoped for at the Bernabéu was practically successfully rehearsed – the Leipzig team are still trying to find their form. Because including the first leg, RB has only won two of the last five games. After all, RB coach Marco Rose can’t just count on the support of over 4,200 traveling fans, but also rely on his strike trio: Xavi Simons (eight goals), Benjamin Šeško (eleven goals) and Loïs Openda (21 goals) all came last summer and want Antonio Rüdiger (also missing in the first leg) and Co.’s life make it hard. And lead the test-tube club beyond the round of 16 for only the third time, instead of being eliminated early for the fourth time.

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Expected starting eleven: Gulácsi – Henrichs, Lukeba, Orban, Raum – Haidara, Schlager – Olmo, Xavi Simons – Openda, Šeško.

Personnel and expected lineup

Almost everyone fit! Apart from the three long-term patients, Carlo Ancelotti has all the players at his disposal, especially since there are two comebacks compared to the first leg: Bellingham and Rüdiger are back and will also start. A few question marks remain for the starting eleven – Rodrygo Goes could take a break and be replaced by first-leg hero Brahim Díaz. Compared to the 2-2 draw in Valencia, Nacho Fernández, who was recently slightly injured, should also return to the starting line-up. The oversupply in midfield could become a problem for Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić if Ancelotti actually leaves both of them out. In any case, at the press conference the Italian admitted that he still “some doubts” have.

This is how Los Blancos could start against RB – Graphics: REAL TOTAL

The voices for the game

Carlo Ancelotti (head coach): “We evaluated the first leg, the good things and where we can improve. I think we are ready and we will improve. They are a very dangerous team when it comes to shifting. (…) I have some doubts, but the Tchouaméni-Rüdiger pairing at the Mestalla was only possible because Nacho was slightly injured and now he has the same chances as the others to start.”

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Marco Rose (head coach): We need an exceptionally strong performance, maybe a bit of luck, but you can work for it. We are here to show tomorrow that we believe in it. Tomorrow we have to push ourselves to the limit in all areas, with and without the ball, in terms of running, with efficiency and a bit of luck and then something is possible here.

Statistics and special features

OVERALL BALANCE SHEET: It is only the fourth time that the two very different clubs have faced each other – Real belongs to its members, while RB is supported by the Red Bull Group – and there has never been a draw. Real won two games, including the first leg 1-0, and the last group game of 2022 went to the Saxons. Overall goal difference: 5:3 from Real’s perspective. ANCELOTTI VS. ROSE: The two head coaches have faced each other five times – Ancelotti won three, Rose twice. Before the two group games in 2022, which ended 1-1 in terms of results, the two crossed paths with other clubs in another competition: In the 2019 Europa League round of 16, first Napoli won (3-0), then Salzburg (1 :3), the Italians came further. Rose also met Los Blancos as Gladbach coach in 2020/21, but in the group phase at that time he only got one point against Real (first 2:2, then 0:2). Ancelotti won both Bundesliga duels with the Saxons during his time at Bayern.

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YELLOW ALARM: If Eduardo Camavinga and Jude Bellingham want to be involved in the (possible) quarter-final first leg, they have to be careful against RB – both have two yellow cards each and would be banned from the next game if they received another.

GOODBYE: Also because the clubs only met for the first time a year and a half ago, there are or have not been any players who played for both sides. David Alaba and Bellingham at least had Bundesliga experience against the “Bulls”, but the Austrian is missing due to injury.

BIRTHDAY: As if Los Blancos needed extra motivation in a knockout second leg, there is even something to celebrate this Wednesday – Real Madrid’s 122nd birthday. The club was founded on March 6, 1902 and is still owned by its approximately 98,000 “Socios”, i.e. members.

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Preliminary report

Birthday party with bullfight: Real wants to blow out candles first, then Leipzig’s dreams

Matchday with a birthday: Real Madrid celebrates its 122nd anniversary and invites – but RB Leipzig wants to ruin the game at the Bernabéu. The second leg of the Champions League round of 16 from 9 p.m. turns into a bullfight – who will advance to the quarter-finals?

06.03.2024, 00:04

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