Real Madrid face off against Valencia in the Supercopa de España semi-final at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on Wednesday.
The format for the tournament this year has changed a bit. This is the first time the competition is featuring a semi-final fixture. It was announced back in November that the Supercopa would be held in Saudi Arabia for the next three years as well.
It wasn’t long ago that these two clubs drew at the Mestalla in La Liga. Not much has changed standings-wise for either club. Real are still tied on points with Barcelona while Valencia are tied on points with Sociedad for fifth.
Real, however, will be at a severe disadvantage with both Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale joining Eden Hazard on the ‘missing’ list for this match. That makes things a bit more interesting in who will move on to the Supercopa final that will feature either Atlético or Barcelona.
As mentioned, Benzema, Bale and Hazard are injured and out of Wednesday’s cup squad. Asensio of course still remains out long-term. Vazquez, Marcelo and James have made recoveries from their injuries and are included in the squad.
Valencia seemingly have a fully healthy squad. Goncalo Guedes, Jasper Cillessen, Cristiano Piccini and Rodrigo have all made recoveries.
There are no suspensions for this match.
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Vinicius, Jovic
Marcelo will likely take his starting spot back from Ferland Mendy after returning from injury.
Zidane has several options to replace the injured Benzema, Hazard and Bale. Luka Jovic will almost surely start in place of Benzema. Zidane could go all-youth with Rodrygo and Vinicius starting alongside him.
With James and Vazquez back, they’re an option as well, as is Isco to start in one of these forward roles.
Cillessen; Piccini, Garay, Paulista, Gayá; Torres, Parejo, Coquelin, Soler; Rodrigo, Maxi
Real Madrid—Valencia 2-1
This is going to be a very tough match for Real Madrid without Benzema, Bale and Hazard. Benzema has arguably been the club’s best player this season and his presence will absolutely be missed.
A lot of weight is going to fall on Jovic’s shoulders if he actually starts, but that’s the reason they paid such a high fee for him over the summer. This is a big chance for him to show his goalscoring prowess. Needless to say, the youngsters need to step up big on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia is neutral ground, so there’s no real home pitch advantage like there was for Valencia at the Mestalla where these two last met. This will still be tough battle for either club to move on to the final round, especially with the last meeting ending in a draw.
This is a big match for a chance at the final of this tournament. No doubt both clubs will likely go all out with La Liga not resuming until the following weekend. This is a good chance for the pursuit of hardware and for some of the club’s youth to showcase their talents if started.