Venue: Red Bull Arena; Salzburg, Austria
Time: 7 PM CEST (Local Time)
Real Madrid are back in preseason action with their preseason match against Red Bull. This is Real’s penultimate friendly prior to the LaLiga season start on August 17 against Celta Vigo.
It was just last week when Real were able to defeat Fenerbahce in the Audi Cup third-place match. The offense, specifically Karim Benzema, showed up while the defense clearly still needs a lot of work before the season officially starts next week.
Red Bull’s Austrian Bundesliga season kicks off this Saturday against Wolfsberg. They are the best team in Austria and have won the Bundesliga the last six seasons running.
This is also the first time in 11 years Real Madrid have played in Austria, after they played Lask Linz in 2008. It is also the first time Real have played the Salzburg under the Red Bull branding after the corporation’s takeover of SV Austria Salzburg in 2005.
So, a bit of higher interest in this preseason match than usual as it is a city Real do not travel to very often.
Real Madrid are of course still without Marco Asensio long-term. They are also still without Brahim and Ferland Mendy with injuries as well.
Salzburg will be without a handful of their players including: Smail Prevljak, Albert Vallci, Kilian Ludwig, Mahamadou Dembele, and Alexander Walke.
There are no suspensions for this preseason match.
Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Valverde, Isco; Vinicius, Hazard, Benzema
Courtois and Jovic were back in training last week and should now be fully back from injury in Austria. However, it’s doubtful Zidane starts Courtois at risk of re-injuring himself, especially if he is to be the starter again this season. Perhaps we’ll see Jovic feature off the bench in these last two friendlies.
Zidane has started almost a full squad almost every preseason match so far, it’s unlikely that changes. The midfield is a bit up in the air still since Casemiro still hasn’t played, it’ll likely be Valverde again starting to get him used to the defensive midfield role.
Isco played quite well against Fenerbahce, perhaps he gets another start in favor of Kroos.
I’ve given up any chance that Bale is starting any of these friendlies so it’ll either be Vinicius or Rodrygo starting instead. Perhaps we’ll actually see James at some point given that he’s been back training with the team.
Red Bull Salzburg
Stankovic; Farkas, Ramalho, Onguene, Ulmer; Takumi, Junuzovic, Bernede, Szoboszlai; Daka, Haland
Red Bull Salzburg—Real Madrid 2-3
Even with Salzburg being a team that Real Madrid should beat handily, nothing has been close to a guarantee this preseason so far. They’ve struggled to prevent conceding chances and goals throughout the entire tour. Luckily, against Fenerbahce, they were able to score more goals than they could concede.
It would be preferable for Real to win these last two friendlies in order to go into the season with more confidence, though preseason isn’t truly reflective of the upcoming season they could have, for better or worse.
It’s important to remain patient with this team and they can at least sort their problems out in these remaining matches before they start actually counting.