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Real Madrid Vs. Sevilla, La Liga 2013: Real Receives Sevilla Without Alonso, Di María

Only days prior to the first game of the Champions League tie against Manchester United, Real Madrid receives a Sevilla team that has been under former Valencia coach Unai Emery for about a month. President José María Del Nido decided to sack Míchel and the team has certainly improved since that decision took place. Xabi Alonso and Di María will not be able to participate, but Portuguese defender Pepe could see some action after spending more than one month out.

Dennis Grombkowski

The players are probably looking forward to face Manchester United this next Wednesday, but they'll have to wait and go face to face against Sevilla (22:00 CET) before that. Jose Mourinho has decided to save Alonso and Di María for that game, leaving them out of the team's list. The reasons why Real Madrid's coach has left out Marcelo out as well are unknown, but the Brazilian left back sure doesn't seem ready to feature against a top team yet.

That way, Modric will probably have the chance to play in the midfield alongside Khedira or Essien. Callejón would see some minutes given Di María's absence, and today's starter in Real Madrid's striker spot will probably be not the same player to start against Ferdinand, Vidic and company.

Pepe could use this game as a test to see if he's ready to feature on Wednesday. The Portuguese center back relies a lot on his physical abilities, so if he's not in shape, it might be better to start Varane and give the young player another big test considering how well he performed against Messi. Varane is out of the list against Sevilla but he will be able to participate against Manchester United.

Sevilla isn't playing as well as they should, and they're ranked 11th on La Liga's table. But Unai Emery has certainly improved the Andalusian team by making a solid defensive system. Kondogbia and Medel are the team's stoppers in the midfield, and it's always hard for the opposition to create dangerous plays with these two players working very hard defensively.

With Jesús Navas, Reyes and Negredo upfront, Sevilla has enough firepower to score. Navas is a very quick wingman, so Coentrao will have a good test before playing against Valencia or Nani. Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos will have some work against Negredo, but Real's defenders should prevail.

This match will be some kind of a transition game before the D-day, but it will be good to get the Bernabéu ready for some Champions League action by getting the three points against Sevilla. It's obvious that the team doesn't care about La Liga anymore (and that's rightful), but it's always important to perform well week in and week out in order to have good matches in the Copa del Rey and Champions League.

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