For the fifth consecutive time, Real Madrid is in a Champions League semifinal. FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund sent Los Blancos out from 2011 to 2013, but Ancelotti's men were able to get a well-deserved revenge against Bayern last season to get to Lisbon and finally win La Décima. This time, Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus de Turin will be Real Madrid's last obstacle on their trip to Berlin, where Los Blancos hope to be able to beat Bayern or Barça to be the first team to ever have won two consecutive Champions League trophies.
Although most pundits out there have claimed that Juventus is the weakest team that remains in the competition, we should not expect an easy game tomorrow. Not for nothing, the Old Lady just became the Serie A champion last weekend, and the bianconeri will for sure be in high spirits and willing to extend the celebrations by earning a victory against Real Madrid at their home, where no one has been able to beat them in this Champions League edition.
Carlo Ancelotti will have to face this difficult test with the absences of key players as Luka Modric and Karim Benzema, and therefore there are not many doubts on what his lineup will be. If Marca's front cover is right, we should expect Coentrao to take Marcelo's spot in the leftback, which would make sense given the poor performances by the Brazilian against Celta and Sevilla.
In any case, we must hope Real Madrid to try to control the game without taking any unnecessary risks, just like they did against Atlético de Madrid in the quarterfinals. Sergio Ramos will feature as a midfielder alongside Kroos and Isco once again, although it seems that tomorrow's scheme will look more like a 4-4-2 than like a 4-3-3, giving Ronaldo and Bale all the offensive responsibilities, but more space to run and take advantage of their superior physical condition.
More on the Semifinals
More on the Semifinals
On the other side, Allegri's lineup is still uncertain, as it is not clear whether he will try to dispute the control of the midfield with his favorite 4-3-1-2 scheme or, instead, he will prioritize the defence of his own box by letting another centerback in to play a 5-3-2. The absence of Paul Pogba will definitely be noted, as he is their most dangerous man, possibly sharing the honors with Carlos Tévez.
Although former Real Madrid player Álvaro Morata has done a great job throughout the season, some reports indicate that Fernando Llorente might take his spot tomorrow. If that is the case, it will mean that Allegri's plan will be to take advantage of direct play and to threat Real Madrid via set pieces, which is probably the weapon that frightens Ancelotti's men the most, but one which they successfully defended from against Atlético de Madrid. Andrea Pirlo will be the catalyst of all of their possessions, and a good pressure by our attackers and midfielders (Sergio Ramos can be useful here, once again) may be crucial to nullify his output.
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Projected lineup: Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Ramos, Isco, James; Ronaldo, Bale.
TV Information: Fox Sports 1 USA, ESPN Deportes (United States); ITV 1 UK (United Kingdom); TVE La 1 (Spain); Others.