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Real Madrid-Roma Champions League Group Stage 2018 Match Preview, Injuries/Suspensions, Potential XIs, Prediction

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Real Madrid take on Roma in the first Champions League match of the season

Real Madrid v AS Roma - International Champions Cup 2018 Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Match Preview

The first Champions League action of the season for Real Madrid will take place in their own home at the Bernabéu. Real take on Group G opponents Roma, likely the toughest team they will face in this group.

These two clubs faced off in August at MetLife Stadium, as part of the International Champions Cup. Real Madrid held on to win 2-1 over the Serie A side in that match. Roma are 1-1-2 to start the Italian league season so far, while Real are 3-0-1 to start their campaign in LaLiga.

Roma have lost a few of of their key figures that helped get them to the semi-final of the Champions League last season, including Alisson and Radja Nainggolan. This will be the first Champions League match in a long while where Real Madrid are without Ronaldo, we’ll have to see how much that affects them in this tournament this season.

Injuries/Suspensions

Real Madrid are still without Jesus Vallejo. Roma will be without Javier Pastore, who picked up injury over the weekend. And they are without Ante Coric.

No suspensions for this match for either side.

Potential XIs

Real Madrid

Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Asensio, Benzema

Obviously, the great debate still remains who will start in net for Real. Courtois has started the last two matches for LaLiga, but this is the first Champions League match. They really can’t go wrong with either keeper, but I think the nod will be given to Navas since it is a brand new season for the Champions League essentially. It might end up being the case that both alternate for this group stage.

Casemiro will also likely start again after Dani Ceballos started in his place against Bilbao. The front three will likely remain the same as it has, but a good case could be made for Isco starting after scoring as a substitute last match.

Roma

Olsen; Florenzi, Manolas, Jesus, Kolarov; Cristante, N’Zonzi, Pellegrini; Cengiz Ünder, El Shaarawy, Dzeko

Prediction

3-1 Real Madrid-Roma

Real are fortunate enough to start this campaign at home against Roma, which should be a boost. They are likely the favorites for this match as well, but Roma are a team that can give Real Madrid a hard time.

Roma have already conceded 7 goals this season in Serie A, so that is an obvious weakness especially without Alisson. They’re also a team that can score some goals if you’re not careful.

We should expect to see a standing ovation for Kostas Manolas at the Bernabéu as well, after his heroics that helped eliminate Barcelona from the Champions League last season. Only half-joking of course.

These are likely the two teams that will make it out of Group G, the quality level just isn’t there with Viktoria and CSKA. This should be a good match, one where Real will want to start off the group stage in the win column, especially in their own home.