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Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray: Trofeo Santiago Bernabéu Preview

Expect to see this a lot this season.
Expect to see this a lot this season.

Real Madrid will take on Turkish side Galatasaray in the 33rd edition of the Santiago Bernabéu Trophy match on Wednesday evening. While this match is even less important than last week's Supercopa, it has the potential to be quite embarrassing if los blancos fail to win: no one wants to lose their own made-up trophy match.

With that in mind, Mourinho will look to this match as both an opportunity to solidify all the good feelings from the preseason against solid competition, and to test out some of his new players: as we reported yesterday, it looks like the exciting center-midfielder Nuri Sahin will finally make his Real Madrid debut in the match.

As we discussed in the comments of our article "breaking" the story that Sahin would be ready for the match Wednesday, it'll take a lot of tactical know-how to help him break into the starting 11: he plays in a deep-lying playmaker role, much like Xabi Alonso, and doesn't provide the same defensive presence as Sami Khedira. Thus, it would seem that he'd be the odd man out in Mourinho's traditional 4-2-3-1; a little shift in tactics could allow him to start in the center or wing of the defensive trivot in a 4-3-3, with Di María, for example, being relegated to the bench.

Of course, none of this matters for now, as Sahin will need to both prove his fitness level in the next couple of weeks and then prove that he deserves a spot in the starting XI. While it doesn't seem ludicrous to believe that he'll eventually crack the starting XI (or at least earn a spot in a staring rotation of some sort), for the next couple of weeks I imagine that Mourinho will try him in a variety of different spots to see exactly where Sahin will fit in.

But back to the Bernabéu Trophy: in all seriousness, this is the least important trophy of the entire year. It means nothing. Less than nothing. Unfortunately, it's a lose-lose situation for Madrid because we're expected to win; if we don't not only will it be a pretty spectacular failure, it'll also be an embarrassment to the club (as I said above).

But never fear! Los vikingos are undefeated in the last 6 iterations of this meaningless trophy--and we can fully expect them to remain undefeated this season. While Galatasaray aren't a club to be taken lightly--in fact, they just announced the signing of Emmanuel Eboué from Arsenal--they shouldn't prove to be a major obstacle. So sit back, grab a snack an enjoy the fireworks!

Keys to the match: Madrid's offense. If they come out strong they can dominate from beginning to end; if not, then it could be a long match, as Galatasaray won't be scared of playing in the Bernabéu.

Player to watch: NURI SAHIN! I'm so excited to see this kid play--he was so good last season for Dortmund, and I genuinely expect him to come out looking to impress the home crowd.

Oh, and here's another random promotional video courtesy of Real Madrid's Official YouTube channel:

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