Introducing opponents: Real Madrid

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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FCSD

Group F leaders, Real Madrid and Shakhtar, will meet in the UEFA Champions League round 3

October 5, Madrid, Santiago Bernabeu, 22:00
Live broadcast: Megogo

History and path to the UCL

Real Madrid celebrating their 120th anniversary this year are the most awarded club of the Champions League: the Madrid side won 14 times in the tournament (and its foregoer, the European Cup). The Blancos became the triumphers in the previous season as well: at that time, Carlo Ancelotti’s team got over the group stage facing Shakhtar, Inter and Sheriff, knocked PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City in play-off and defeated Liverpool in the final. Also the Galacticos became the winners of Spanish LaLiga 2021/22 receiving their 35th championship title.

Squad and leaders

Real Madrid was quite modest at the transfer market this summer. Players with a name, however, without any great impact on the game during the last seasons, left the club as free agents: Marcelo, Gareth Bale, Isco, and Luka Jovic. The only sufficient loss was the transfer of one of the middle line leaders Casemiro to Manchester United. Defensive midfielder of the France national team Aurelien Tchouameni was signed from Monaco for EUR 80m to replace him.

The Galacticos are managed by Carlo Ancelotti who is the first coach in history to win championships of Italy, England, Germany and Spain and the only manager to win the Champions League 4 times. The team is still led by the veterans: captain Luka Modric and the main candidate for the Golden Ball Karim Benzema. Young wingers Vinicius Junior (6 goals and 4 assists) and Federico Valverde (4 and 2) are demonstrating outstanding results at the start of the season.

Currently, the optimum Real Madrid’s squad is as follows: Courtois – Carvajal, Alaba, Rüdiger, Mendy – Tchouameni, Kroos, Modric – Valverde, Vinicius, Benzema. It should be noted that the participation of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in the match is in doubt. He can be replaced by Ukrainian Andriy Lunin.

Start in season 2022/23

Real Madrid opened the European season on August 10 with the match for the UEFA Super Cup defeating Eintracht (2-0). Carlo Ancelotti’s side began the Champions League with win over Celtic (3-0) and RB Leipzig (2-0) heading the Group F. Start in the Spanish championship has also been successful. The Blancos won 6 matches in a row: against Almeria (2-1), Celta (4-1), Espanyol (3-1), Real Betis (2-1), Mallorca (4-1) and Atletico (2-1). And only last Sunday, the Madrid side lost points for the first time in the season playing draw at home with Osasuna (1:1).

Match background

Shakhtar and Real Madrid meet in the Champions League group stage for the third season in a row and for the fourth time in history. 2 out of 6 earlier matches ended with Miners’ win and the Spaniards were stronger 4 times. The teams locked horns in season 2015/16 for the first time when the Blancos won both matches: 4-0 in Madrid (Benzema, Ronaldo (3)) and 4-3 in Lviv (Ronaldo (2), Modric, Carvajal – Teixeira (2), Dentinho). The Ukrainian team won both times in season 2020/21: at first, the Orange-and-Blacks defeated Real Madrid in an outstanding match playing almost in reserve squad – 3-2 (Tete, Varane (OG), Solomon – Modric, Vinicius) and then beat the Madrid-based team in Kyiv – 2-0 (Dentinho, Solomon). In the previous season, Real Madrid had a confident victory in Ukraine – 5-0 (Kryvtsov (OG), Vinicius (2), Rodrygo, Benzema) and then earn a victory on the own pitch in more equal match – 2-1 (Benzema (2) –Fernando).

It is interesting that it is the 17th season in the Champions League group stage for Shakhtar. At the same time, Real Madrid participate in the main stage of the most prestigious club tournament in Europe for the 27th time and have always advance to the knockout stage.