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Champions League Preview: Real Madrid vs. Sporting CP

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Ronaldo will face his old club

Real Madrid

Real Madrid kick off their Champions League ‘Undecima’ defence when they host Portuguese side Sporting CP on Wednesday night in Group F.

Both sides have a 100% record in their respective domestic leagues, but will be hoping to start their European campaign well in a tough Champions League group.

Real Madrid breezed to a 5-2 victory over Osasuna on Saturday, putting themselves 5-0 to the good, before slightly taking their foot off the pedal, perhaps with one eye on this Champions League clash.

Nacho stepped in for Marcelo at left back, and Dani Carvajal was rotated out for Danilo at right back. Casemiro also made way for Mateo Kovacic in central midfield. You’d imagine all those rested for the Osasuna tie will come back into the side.

Goals from Gelson Martins , and new recruits Joel Campbell, and Bas Dost ensured that Sporting also enjoyed an easy 3-0 victory over Moreirense at Estádio José Alvalade on Saturday.

The Portuguese side finished runners up in the Primeira Liga last season, and should provide Zinedine Zidane’s side with a tough opener. In their previous fixture, they overcame rivals Porto 2-1, playing a 4-2-3-1 formation, compared to a 4-4-2 against Moreirense.

Expect the visitors to remain in this 4-4-2 shape, as Real should remain in their regular 4-3-3 formation. You would imagine that Sporting would look to use the numerical advantage in the middle and the two banks of four to frustrate the space for Madrid’s attacking options.

However, the hosts have scored 10 goals in their opening three La Liga matches. Taking anything away from this tie will be a tough task for the visitors.

Staff Predictions:

This season, the MM staff will be keeping a running tally of who lands the most accurate predictions over the length of the season. Scoring will be: 1 point for guessing the correct result, 2 points for the correct scoreline, and 3 points for correct goal-scorers. Feel free to guess and follow along in the comments below!