UEFA Super Cup: Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid - preview, team news, line-ups, and head to head
- In-depth preview of the UEFA Super Cup clash between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
The 2018-19 season of European football is upon us, and the curtain raiser for the campaign sees the winners of last season's Champions League take on the Europa League champions in the UEFA Super Cup final at the Lillekula Stadium in Tallinn Estonia on Wednesday.
Real Madrid begin a new era after the sale of Ronaldo, he left in a world record transfer to Juventus. Atletico managed to hold onto their star man Antoine Griezmann. The World Cup winner had been a long term target of both Manchester United and Barcelona before he signed a contract extension with the Madrid club in June.
Both teams earned the right to this fixture in very different circumstances, as Real Madrid continued their recent European dominance by winning the Champions League for the third consecutive time, after defeating Liverpool 3-1 in the last UCL final.
Atletico on the other hand paid the price for a disappointing group campaign last season by being demoted to the Europa League after finishing third in their group behind AS Roma and Chelsea, but they made the most of their misfortune by rallying together to win their third Europa League trophy after dispatching Arsenal in the semi-final, and trouncing Marseille 3-0 in the final.
This is the tenth time the city rivals will meet in European competition, this includes four consecutive Champions League seasons, with Real Madrid prevailing in the 2014 and 2016 UCL finals.
Team news and probable line-ups
Most of Real Madrid's Spanish delegation to the World Cup had a full pre-season training as a result of the early elimination of Spain, while Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema also trained fully due to their non-participation at the World Cup.
Luka Modric played just 15 minutes of pre-season, having only recently returned from his World Cup exertions with Croatia - he led his country to the final, he is expected to start from the bench, amidst speculation over his future.
New signing Vinicius Jr was impressive in pre-season, he is expected to play a part in the match.
Thibaut Courtois arrived Real Madrid from Chelsea last week, but is expected to start from the bench in favour of Costa Rican international Keylor Navas.
Across the city, Atletico has been busy in the transfer market, spending millions on new arrivals, with the bulk of that spent on bringing highly sought after French winger Thomas Lemar from Monaco for £63 million.
There has also been notable departures from the Wanda Metropolitano, with long-term stalwarts Fernando Torres and Gabi Fernandez departing the club on free transfers to Sagan Tosu in Japan, and Al Sadd in Qatar respectively.
The World Cup winning duo of Antoine Griezmann and Lucas Hernandez only returned to training last Monday, so are expected to start from the bench, while fellow World Cup winner Thomas Lemar cut short his holiday by almost two weeks in order to properly blend in with his new team. He has featured prominently in pre-season, so is expected to start along with new signing from AC Milan - Nikola Kalinic.
Probable starting XI
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas, Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Nacho Fernandez, Marcelo, Casemiro,Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale, Isco, Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema
Atletico Madrid: Jan Oblak, Santiago Arias, Diego Godin, Stefan Savic, Filipe Luis, Koke, Saul Niguez, Rodri, Thomas Lemar, Diego Costa, Nikola Kalinic
Head to head
Both teams have met a total of 219 times, with Real Madrid triumphing on 109 occasions, Atletico winning 55 times, and 55 matches ending in a stalemate. This will be the first meeting between both managers.
Real Madrid has historically been the more dominant team, but the tide has changed in recent seasons since Diego Simeone's appointment, and Los Rojiblanco has not lost at the Santiago Bernabeu in the league for the last five seasons, winning four of the last 10 fixtures in La Liga, losing just one.
In Europe they have faltered behind Real Madrid, losing five and drawing two of their nine Champions League clashes.
Atletico Madrid has lost the final of two European competitions to their more illustrious city rivals in very cruel circumstances, so will be desperate to get one over Los Blancos in this one.
Real Madrid come into the match in better form, having won three of their four pre-season fixtures, only losing 2-1 to Manchester United. Atletico had a more unconvincing pre-season, winning just one of their five clashes, and drawing two.
Both teams will not focus too much on this however, as pre-season fixtures are more of a warm-up to get in shape for the new season, rather than an actual appraisal of how well the team or players would do in the season.
Real Madrid will be without their talismanic record goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time in a decade. He also happens to be the highest goalscorer in the history of the Madrid derby (with 22 goals). it remains to be seen how they will cope in his absence.
Although they do have enough firepower to bang in goals without the presence of Ronaldo, as Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema would seek to thrive in the spotlight - having been overshadowed by Ronaldo's presence at the Bernabeu.
It is a well known fact that Real has one of the most devastating attacks in European football, and Los Merengues scored a total of 94 goals in La Liga last season, however they also concede goals by the bucket-load, evidenced by the fact that they went nine consecutive league games without a clean sheet between December and February, in an eventual 44 goals conceded haul (six teams posted a better defensive record than Real in La Liga last season including - 11th placed Espanyol).
Atletico on the other hand have one of the meanest defenses in Europe, and had the best defensive record in La Liga last season (for the third consecutive season), conceding only 22 goals.
There is a price for Diego Simeone's compact side however, as they do not score an abundance of goals, rather defending resolutely to grind out results, evidenced by the 58 goals they scored in the league last season.
The successes recorded by both sides in Europe in recent seasons means that this tie is one of the more frequent in recent years, with this being the 10th encounter between both teams in just four years.
Being a one-legged match, this means Real Madrid has the advantage, as they usually prevail over Atletico in play-off European matches, but Atletico can draw on their recent successes over Real Madrid for inspiration.
Julen Lopetegui's appointment and Ronaldo's departure means that Real Madrid are in a form of transition, while Atletico are as stable as ever - with the crux of the team remaining largely the same for the last three seasons.
The form guide and pedigree of both teams sees Real Madrid installed as favourites heading into this tie, but write off Diego Simeone's side at your peril, on their day they are capable of winning anyone in Europe (as Real Madrid themselves know), but whatever happens, we are set for an entertaining encounter.Published 14 Aug 2018, 01:09 IST