Local rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will have a chance for some early-season silverware when they clash in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday night.
UEFA Super Cup
15 August 2018
Kick-off: 21:00 (GMT+2)
Venue: A. Le Coq Arena
Referee: S. Marciniak
Assistants: P. Sokolnicki, T. Listkiewicz
Fourth official: O. Haegan
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Real Madrid 61 34 17 10
Atletico 61 10 17 34
Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico 08/04/18 (La Liga)
Real Madrid goalscorers: C. Ronaldo (53′)
Atletico goalscorers: A. Griezmann (57′)
Players to watch:
Following the recent departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, the limelight has shifted to Gareth Bale, who is expected to pick up the slack in the goalscoring department. Meanwhile, Croatia superstar Luka Modric will be looking to boss the midfield for Real with his silky distribution.
Atletico have depended on the world-class finishing of Antoine Griezmann over recent years and will likely look to the World Cup winner to lead from the front. New signing Thomas Lemar will also be eager to make a positive impact in his first competitive game for the club.
Team form and manager quotes:
The Super Cup is contested every year between the winners of the Champions League and the Europa League. Real clinched Europe’s biggest club prize last season, while their neighbours won the latter competition.
Los Blancos have a new man at the helm in former Spain head coach Julen Lopetegui, who replaced Zinedine Zidane following his exit shortly after leading his side to a third consecutive Champions League title.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) August 14, 2018
This will be Real’s first competitive fixture of the season and Lopetegui will no doubt be hoping to get one over Atleti before La Liga gets underway on Sunday, when Real face Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Asked about Gareth Bale and his importance to the team, Lopetegui told reporters: “The Bale we have now is committed, content, wanting to have a great season. He is training very well, happy, and we are so happy with him. This has only just begun.”
Meanwhile, Atleti manager Diego Simeone will be aiming to lay down a marker by causing an upset. The Argentine has a respectable record against Real, winning eight, drawing eight, and losing 10.
Simeone has bolstered his squad in the transfer market by bringing in the likes of Thomas Lemar, Rodri, Nikola Kalinic and Santiago Arias. He will be hoping they can help Atletico challenge for trophies both domestically and in Europe this term, starting with the Super Cup.
“We have a new group, with many players who have just arrived and need to adapt,” he told the press. “That will take time. It is not enough to just have good individuals, you need to form a team, and we still have to see that.
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) August 13, 2018
“Lemar is bit by bit picking up what the team needs. You see his dynamism, explosiveness, his talent which the team needs.”
Real have won the Super Cup three out of the last four years, while Atletico claimed the silverware in 2010 and 2012.
Real expect to have Luka Modric back in the starting lineup after he came off the bench in their last pre-season friendly against Milan. Keylor Navas should start in goal, ahead of new signing Thibaut Courtois.
Atleti should be able to field a full-strength side, with only Antoine Griezmann missing their final pre-season outing. The Frenchman is also expected to return to the starting XI.