Do or die situation for Real Madrid after losing almost every chance to conquer the Liga BBVA title this last weekend. If Ancelotti's men don't want to end the season empty-handed, they must beat Juventus and overcome the 2-1 deficit they earned at the Juventus Stadium.
It's also decision time for Carlo Ancelotti, who will have to make up his mind and decide whether Ramos needs to play as a midfielder or not. Ancelotti could deploy a Kroos-Isco-James midfield that would control the ball well, but these three players would not be able to match up against Vidal and Pogba's physicality, and that's where Ramos could play a big part.
It will also be interesting to see who Ancelotti trusts for the striker position. Benzema is recovered from his knee injury but hasn't featured in a game for over a month, while Chicharito has been in good form and could take the starting spot alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. The latest reports from Spain indicate that the Mexican has the better odds of making it into the XI, but Ancelotti values Benzema's contribution to the team's offensive system and he will have a hard time leaving the French on the bench.
Juventus' coach Massimiliano Allegri will also have to decide the system for his team. Almost every reporter is expecting a 5-3-2 from Juventus, but the 4-3-1-2 worked very well against Real Madrid and it would be reasonable to give it another chance.
Either way, expect Real Madrid to come out firing in all cylinders trying to get an early goal, and if that doesn't happen, Los Blancos will try to control the game more effectively waiting to capitalize the few chances they'll get.
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Date & Time: Wednesday, April 13th 2015. 20:45 CET, 14:45 EST.
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain.
Real Madrid: Casillas, Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos, James, Isco, Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.
Juventus: Buffon, Lichsteiner, Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini, Evra, Pirlo, Vidal, Pogba, Morata, Tévez.
Juve know how to play football, their gameplan will not change much because they have a small advantage. It will not make a big difference for us if they play with 2 center-backs or 3.
Carlo Ancelotti, more quotes here.
We have to play with intensity and focused, they will defend and sit back for counterattacks, so we have to stay focused and capitalize our goalscoring opportunities. This is what we all want. We'd like to score an early goal so they have to take risks. They will have a lot of players on the defensive line, we have to be patient.
James Rodríguez, more quotes here.
Key players: Iker Casillas, Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Giorgio Chiellini, Arturo Vidal (Juventus)
Prediction: Real Madrid 3-1 Juventus.
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