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UEFA Super Cup 2018 Preview: Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid 

Real Madrid v Manchester United: UEFA Super Cup
Real Madrid are the current holders
Anakha Varma
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Since the turn of the century, the UEFA Super Cup winners have been produced by one very successful nation. Spain has emerged as the winning nation producing wins through Atletico Madrid (2010, 2012), Barcelona (2009, 2011, 2015), Real Madrid (2002, 2014, 2016, 2017), Sevilla (2006) and Valencia (2004).

Amidst this successful stint in Europe, Madrid has established itself as a true football capital, with their clubs extending their domestic rivalry to Europe's biggest club stage - The UEFA Champions League. The two have met in the knockout stages of the Champions League in every edition of the competition between 2014 and 2017 with two of these being in the finals.

With Real Madrid winning their third consecutive Champions League title (their record 13th in the competition's history) and Atletico Madrid winning their third Europa League title - Tallinn will play host to yet another European Madrid Derby Final.

New look Madrid sides

The capital teams will both have revamped squads on display - especially Real Madrid with the high profile move of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus. This will also be a good test for incoming coach Julen Lopetegui's preseason work and a good preview to the actual season.

Lopetegui has attempted to instil a positional footballing philosophy with a more cohesive pressing plan and his side has looked relatively sharp, fluid and has adopted the pressing plan quite well in preseason - mostly in the United States, their performance in the Trofeo Santiago Bernabéu was more lacklustre.

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Super Cup Previews
Julen Lopetegui's first real test

Strengthening has come in the form of Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Real Sociedad right-back Alvaro Odriozola, Zorya Luhansk's highly rated young keeper Andriy Lunin and Brazilian youngster Vinicius Jr.

A host of young Castilla players like Sergio Reguilón and Federico Valverde are also available to offer a depth of options. Real Madrid are also in the running for a new striker with Valencia's Rodrigo Moreno and Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi emerging as possible targets.

Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, has significantly strengthened all areas by bringing in the likes of Rodri, Thomas Lemar, Gelson Martins, Santiago Arias, Antonio Adán and Nikola Kalinić. With these reinforcements, one can expect as more attack-minded Atleti with the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Diego Costa, Koke and co.

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Super Cup Previews
Atletico Madrid can expect Antoine Griezmann to start

One thing that will probably not change is the defensive discipline, organisation and work-rate associated with Diego Simeone's teams. This combined with the pace and talent of their attacking players can result in a very entertaining fixture.

Unlike Real Madrid, however, Atletico Madrid have struggled in the preseason, although this is perhaps not the best indicator of a team's season - their ability to switch gears tonight will be interesting to see. Atleti never fails to show up in derby encounters regardless of other externalities and the same can be said for tonight.

Unlike traditional Madrid derbies - this one cannot possibly be expected to be between attack and defence as both teams have the players to play patient possession football or to launch lightning counters, pouncing on opposition mistakes and finishing off the chances that come their way.

Predicted line-ups

Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Asensio, Bale and Benzema.

Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Juanfran,Godín, Giménez, Filipe Luis; Lemar, Thomas, Saúl, Koke; Costa and Griezmann.


Edited by Shambhu Ajith
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