Real Madrid will have the chance of winning their first trophy of the season when they meet Sevilla on Tuesday (20:45 CET) at the Lerkendal Stadium in Norway. Playing the UEFA Super Cup Final is always a success for both teams as it means that they reached European glory a season ago, even though the timing of the game seems a bit problematic for Los Blancos, who will have many of their stars sitting on the bench or working in Madrid to get in shape for the start of La Liga.
Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale, Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo will all miss the game, while players like Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos, James Rodríguez and Karim Benzema are still working to improve their physical condition. The French striker might not be able to feature at all as he spent all of Madrid's preseason stage in North America recovering from a hip injury.
"He's fine, he didn't feature in the games and we won't be risking anything with Karim. I'm happy that he's with us. He's done all of the preparation with us and we'll see what happens tomorrow. Let's hope that he doesn't have any further issues," said Zidane about Benzema, who could spend the game on the bench waiting to see if the team needs more firepower upfront.
Zidane is "not worried" about missing some big names with the squad and confirmed that Madrid "have to do everything in their power."
All things considered, it looks like Lucas Vázquez, James Rodríguez and Álvaro Morata will start upfront, with Casemiro, Luka Modric and Isco in the midfield. If Zidane thinks Ramos is fit enough, the Spanish defender will start alongside Varane, with Carvajal and Marcelo on the flanks. Kiko Casilla will defend Real's goal as Navas is still recovering from a heel injury.
Sevilla, on the other hand, are a much different team from the one that conquered the Europa League title. Coach and mastermind Unai Emery left the club to join Paris Saint-Germain and took Krychowiak with him. Kevin Gameiro is now an Atlético de Madrid player while Ever Banega took his talents to Inter Milan. Those four men were the heart and soul of Sevilla, and while new coach Jorge Sampaoli and signings like Kranevitter, Sarabia or Vietto could ultimately replace the ones who left, it will not be easy for Sevilla to reach their peak.
"I'm really pleased to be here and to be involved in this final. Our new style needs some time to settle in. The most important thing is that the players believe in it," said Sampaoli.
This will be a very important test for most of Real Madrid's reserves. If players like Isco, James, Morata and Vázquez perform well enough, Zidane will surely feel some relief knowing that he will be allowed to rotate the squad often throughout what will be a very long season for Los Blancos.