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Real Madrid V.s. Racing Santander Preview

Striker Lautaro Acosta will be one of Racing's most dangerous threats with his creativity but he will need to be at his best if his team wants to upset the Spanish giants.
Striker Lautaro Acosta will be one of Racing's most dangerous threats with his creativity but he will need to be at his best if his team wants to upset the Spanish giants.

Fortunately, we have not needed to wait long in order to see Real Madrid take the pitch again. Tomorrow, Jose Mourinho's men will visit El Sardinero and try to bounce back from their recent shock loss against Levante.

However, Real won't be the only team on the pitch coming off a loss considering Racing are probably still reeling off their 4-0 reversal against Atletico Madrid this weekend. Racing Santander have yet to win a match during the current La Liga season.

The last time both sides played each other was on March 6 where Real Madrid ran out 3-1 winners at the El Sardinero. Earlier in the year Real ran rampant, winning 6-1 with Cristiano bagging four goals. Fingers crossed we see something similar tomorrow night.

And we probably will considering it is absolutely essential that Los Blancos take all three points from match, and it will probably show in Mourinho's starting lineup as he will probably opt to field as many first team regulars as he can, so expect to see Ozil return to the first eleven and Kaka return to the bench. Cristiano has recovered from his ankle injury and hopefully we will see him back in top form. Oh, and also expect to see him shooting a lot considering Sunday's defeat was the first game in seven league matches where he didn't find the back of the net and he'll be looking to end this drought right away.

However, moving to the back, the "Special One" will need to switch things up a bit considering both Pepe and Coentrao picked up injuries in the last match. Mourinho can either plug Albiol or Varane into central defense or move Ramos to the centre and allow Arbeloa to fill in at right back. With Khedira suspended and with Coentrao and Sahin injured, Mourinho can choose between either Lassana Diarra or Granero to join Xabi in central midfield. I would place my bet on Mourinho finally giving Diarra a start because the team is going to need another destroyer in case things turn ugly. Also, Mourinho will be looking to have a solid back line so the team doesn't concede a goal early on. If he is indeed given the start, Lassana will be trying to prove to Mourinho that he deserves a spot on the team.

But these are all posibilites considering Mourinho did not divulge much of his plans for the starting lineup, choosing to instead discuss the limited time between Madrid's recent fixtures, his thoughts about Khedira, and his hope that the referee is significanty better than the official in the last match:

"We'll have time enough to analyse our last game. I mainly want to prepare for tomorrow's clash. That's what matters most."

"A second defeat would be something to worry about. These are the points that matter most at the end of the day. Dropping three points again would mean dropping six in total in two consecutive games. It doesn't matter if we play well and lose tomorrow. Despite how long the season has yet to go it would be worrying to drop points tomorrow."

"I believe footballers who train well, who have a healthy lifestyle and who are fit to be in optimum form shouldn't feel fatigued either physically or mentally for playing too much. It's a different story when it comes to having only two days between games. We had three days to prepare for our match against Dinamo after facing Getafe, and another 3 to prepare for our clash with Levante after playing in Zagreb."

You can read his full interview here.

Racing Santander Coach Hector Cuper has much more to worry about considering he will be missing numerous players come Wednesday's match. Midfielders Gustavo Colsa, Manuel Arana and Kennedy Bakicoglu will be absent along with defender Marca Torrejon and striker Lautaro Arana. Even captain Pedro Munitis is doubtful with an ankle injury.

Against such odds, Racing will not be expected to get anything from the match while Real will be expected to win (as usual). Racing Santander's makeshift back line will most probably not hold up against the likes of a hungry Cristiano Ronaldo and an in-form Karim Benzema. And it doesn't help the home side that Los Blancos will be going with a point to prove. My prediction: 3-1 with Real Madrid returning to the capital as convincing winners.

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