Scouting Real Madrid's Competition: Mallorca

Jasper Juinen

Joaquín Caparrós. That's the name of one of the most brilliant Spanish coaches in the modern era of football. Yes, he hasn't won a single trophy, but what about picking Michael Laudrup's Mallorca in relegation zone and finishing La Liga almost qualifying for Europe League?

Mallorca doesn't have a powerful side, that's for sure. Giovani Dos Santos, who was in Tottenham's Reserves most of the time if the franchise player after Caparrós signed him this summer. Furthermore, defenders Chico and Ramis went to enjoy an adventure in the Premier League. But Mallorca does have Joaquín Caparrós. He's the coach that was able to bring an European title to Sevilla. Caparrós could even be a good fit to coach Real Madrid after Mourinho is gone, since he always allows his teams to perform above their own level.

Many teams were interested in bringing Caparrós after he picked up Michael Laudrup's team in relegation zone and fought for a spot in the Europe League a few months after. Valencia appeared to have an agreement with him, but the chés ended up signing Mauricio Pellegrino, so Caparrós stayed in Mallorca.

Mallorca started the league of amazingly well, but they aren't in a great streak right now as they've lost three games in a row. One way or another, they always provide a really tough challenge to Real Madrid when playing at home (remember Callejón had to score in the final five minutes of the game last season). This time, given Real Madrid's lack of depth due to injuries, Caparrós might be having good hopes about this game.

The Spanish coach always play with a very defensive attitude, and that's what hurts Real Madrid when Mourinho's team faces lower teams. N'Sue and Dos Santos are very dangerous when Mallorca is counterattacking, since both of them are fast and technically able to perform some dribble moves. But it's Tomer Hemed the player that Mallorca is enjoying the most.

The Israelite has already scored six goals in this Liga BBVA season. He works very hard defensively, so Varane and Pepe should be really careful about turning the ball over like the Portuguese defender did against Dortmund. Furthermore, he's a big threat in the aerial part of the game, so Real Madrid as a whole must be worried about him in corner-kicks and fouls.

Former Espanyol midfielder Javi Márquez is another one of Mallorca's starlets. There were some rumors before the 2011-2012 started about Madrid wanting to sign him, and after Valencia didn't want to pay much for him this past transfer windows, he ended up in Caparrós' squad.

Goalkeeper Dudu Aouate is talented as well. He single handedly Real Madrid in Mourinho, Di María, Arbeloa and Özil's debut with the club back in September 2010, allowing his team to walk away with a draw.

This is not a good time for Real Madrid to face Mallorca. Caparrós is always able to get the best out from his players, and they can do some harm to Real Madrid's defense tomorrow. Mallorca's pitch is small as well, so there will not be a lot of space for Madrid's midfielders to work in. Real Madrid fans should be ready to see a defensive display out of Mallorca tomorrow, but they will also have a couple of good scoring opportunities, that's granted when speaking about Caparrós' teams.

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