It's been two weeks since Real Madrid played their last game in La Liga and the main star of that match will not be available. James Rodríguez picked up an injury during Colombia's friendly against Peru and will be out up to three weeks. Meanwhile, Carvajal will have a good chance to prove he's ready to start considering that Danilo will also be out two months.
Rafa Benítez could decide to rotate his squad after this FIFA break. Players like Casemiro or Jesé will not be tired and that could be crucial against a well-rested Espanyol side. In fact, some reports suggest that Casemiro is set to start this game in Kroos' spot.
Real Madrid will also kick their Champions League season off this next Tuesday against Shakhtar, so Benítez should manage the minutes of his players well in order to get the good results everybody expects. But first things first, onto Espanyol.
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Date & Time: Saturday, September 12 (16:00 local time, 10:00 EST).
Venue: Power8 Stadium, Barcelona, Spain.
Projected Real Madrid XI: Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Modric, Isco, Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.
Players to watch: Isco, Ronaldo, Bale.
TV Information: BeIN Sports en español (United States), Sky Sports 3 (United Kingdom), SuperSport 7 Africa (Kenya), Canal+ Liga (Spain), Others.
Stream information: BeIN Sports Connect (United States), Sky Go (United Kingdom), Others.