Real Madrid will seek to continue their excellent run of form when they host CSKA Moscow today, in what will be their final game of the UEFA Champions League group stage this season.
The defending champions of Europe have already secured top spot in their group but a win this week could help extend their winning run to five games.
Real Madrid team news
Real Madrid’s first team injury crisis seems to be easing but Solari’s plans to make widespread changes today have been hit with a number of fringe players not in the best shape. Amongst the more prominent ones, Nacho Fernandez remains sidelined this week while key midfielder Casemiro and Toni Kroos are doubtful. Marcelo is also tipped to return following a prolonged spell on the sidelines, though he is unlikely to feature in this game.
Predicted Real Madrid line-up vs CSKA Moscow
Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari will ring in the changes, having already wrapped up the top spot in the group. Thus, Keylor Navas will start over Thibaut Courtois as the goalkeeper. The Costa Rican will be looking for his second clean sheet in the competition.
Alvaro Odriozola will retain his place as the right-back for Real Madrid while Dani Carvajal might have to continue at left-back in the face of a number of injuries to the other fullbacks. Odriozola has been impressive this season and his creativity from the right flank could once again be crucial against the CSKA Moscow defence.
Jesús Vallejo could get a game at the heart of the Madrid defence alongside the more experienced Raphael Varane. With Ramos missing, it remains to be seen how they perform against a challenging Moscow attack.
Solari hinted that Marcos Llorente could start in midfield this week, after praising his work in training as well as his in-game performances. Isco is likely to get a game as he looks to attain peak fitness. We should also see Vinicius Junior starting. He can take up the left-midfield spot and look to impress with more time afforded on the ball.
Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will be left out of the starting lineup, with Solari keen not to overuse the midfield power duo. And considering Madrid’s form going into this game, it wouldn’t be much of a problem for Isco and co. to dominate the opposition midfield.
The Real Madrid attack might be led by Karim Benzema with Diaz missing out. He will be supported by the wide-duo of Federico Valverde and Lucas Vazquez, both of whom will be tasked with the responsibility of providing the creative spark going forward.