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Open Thread: December 8, 2020.

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Another issue of the Daily Merengue!

Hola Madridistas!

The Open Thread/Daily Merengue is a place where you can discuss anything and everything related to football. Feel free to discuss the topics presented here, or start your very own discussions! The Open thread will be posted every day by one of the mods: Valyrian Steel, Felipejack, YoSnail or Oscnar.

Looking ahead to the match against Borussia Monchengladbach.

AS reported that Zidane’s only doubt for the “final” against Borussia is which player will play on the right: Asensio, Lucas or Rodrygo. Marca confirmed that Ramos will return for the game, even with the uncertainty if he is really match fit, as he hasn’t played since November 17. Carvajal trained with the ball yesterday. According to COPE, the player aims to start against Borussia.

AS also reported about Ødegaard’s latest knock: the club thinks his discomfort is nothing serious, but he will be tested today to confirm. However, Arancha Mobile already ruled out the midfielder for the upcoming game.

On to some good news, Fede Valverde continues his recovery and yesterday completed his second consecutive training with the ball. Also, AS reported that Modric is set to have talks about a contract extension as he’s playing a vital role for Zidane this season.

Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram lead the charge as Borussia Mönchengladbach travel to Real Madrid.

Seven-goal top scorer Alassane Plea will lead the attack for Monchengladbach as Real Madrid can ill afford any mistakes at the back. He’ll be joined by Marcus Thuram, son of Lilian Thuram, a former teammate of Zidane when France won the FIFA World Cup in 1998. Thuram scored twice when the sides met earlier in Germany and will be once again looking to help his team qualify for the knockout stages of the competition. Plea meanwhile was on target, as Gladbach came from behind to draw against bogey team Freiburg this past weekend.

Marco Rose’s side only need a draw in the Spanish capital to progress, but could even qualify in defeat if Inter Milan’s meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk ends all square, while victory would send them through as group winners. Whatever happens, they are guaranteed UEFA Europa League football in the new year.

Here’s a probable lineup Rose could put out for the contest:

Gladbach: Sommer (c) - Lainer, Ginter, Jantschke, Wendt - Kramer, Neuhaus - Lazaro, Stindl (c), Thuram - Plea

Transfer Rumors.

The Athletic reported further regarding the contract of Szoboszlai - the midfielder whom recent rumors have said Zidane called directly. The player must present an offer received to Red Bull Salzburg before December 31, if he is moving in the winter, and before July 15, if the transfer is for the summer. The release clause is €25 million, but there is also a 20% fee for Red Bull Salzburg in case of any future sale. His agent talked to the press, saying the most important thing is to find a club in which his development continues.

Meanwhile Erling Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola stated: “Rumors say Real Madrid want him? This is not new to me - but he is very happy with Borussia Dortmund. Erling wants to win the UCL. When he’ll leave the club, it will be for his ambition and not for money.”

Other Champions League action to keep an eye on.

Just like Real Madrid several other big guns will be looking to seal their place in the knockout rounds of the competition. The biggest game of the round is undoubtedly Barcelona vs Juventus, even though both teams have qualified. The Italians this time can count on the services of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, who missed the last contest between these two teams after having tested positive for Covid-19.

In Group H, Manchester United, PSG AND RB Leipzig all sit on 9 points with United having to play Leipzig and PSG coming up against Istanbul Busaksehir. Atletico meanwhile is up against Salzburg with a draw enough to see the Madrid based team secure qualification. In group D, Ajax play Atalanta with the Amsterdam based team needing a win to progress. Similarly Club Brugge will need to beat Lazio to qualify.

In addition to Juventus and Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Porto, Liverpool, Chelsea, Sevilla and Dortmund have already qualified.