Real Madrid wants to forget the pothole with the European leadership

Real Madrid wants to forget the pothole with the European leadership

The Madrid team must beat Celtic at the Bernabéu to be first in the Champions League and forget their last two setbacks


Real Madrid host Celtic Glasgow this Wednesday (6:45 p.m.) on the last day of the 2022-2023 Champions League group stage, a duel in which they must win to leave behind their last two setbacks to confirm their leadership before the crosses and close their European duties on a good note against a Scottish team that arrives at the Santiago Bernabéu with nothing at stake.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team is experiencing the first moment of doubt and uncertainty of the season, caused by a drop in performance that now conditions their dominance in the League and the Champions League. The objective was to reach this last day of this phase already with the lead in the pocket for the round of 16, but the draw against Shakthar, who certified their ticket for the crosses, and the defeat (3-2) in Leipzig, on the previous date, they postponed the objective, now with a somewhat more complicated scenario.

However, Real Madrid have it in their hands to finish this first Champions League exam with ‘outstanding’. Real Madrid has 10 points as leader of Group F, to Leipzig’s 9, so a victory against Celtic would confirm that first place, regardless of the result of the German team against Shakthar.

A draw would also serve the meringues, as long as Marco Rose’s team do not win in Warsaw. Even if the Whites lose they could be first, if Leipzig lose or draw, as the goal difference is in favor of Ancelotti’s side.

But the biggest challenge for the meringues will be to recover the sensations of a team that was ‘flying’ firmly, but has lost steam and freshness in recent weeks. The calendar, finally, is being the great enemy of a somewhat exhausted Real Madrid, with nine games in less than a month. And that has affected key tactical aspects of the Ancelotti model, with even greater defensive fragility and more shadows than lights in the offensive aspect.

And much of the blame for the latter may lie in the absence of Benzema, who is doubtful to receive the Scots, a loss that would prolong the lack of spark in the attack zone. It is here that only Vinicius seems to respond, who is playing everything – he is the player with the most minutes (1,514) on the squad – and is already the team’s top scorer (9), despite the fact that he is not as brilliant as he was at the beginning.


The French striker has a difficult time being against Celtic, a duel that will be lost again by another almost fixed starter like the French midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni and in which rotations are planned to continue distributing minutes in the locker room legs. In defense, Militao and Rüdiger point to the starting eleven, while Ancelotti could give minutes to less usual players like Ceballos or Nacho. Marco Asensio would be the companion of Vinicius and Rodrygo, somewhat less in tune in recent games.

Opposite will be an affordable Celtic who have not yet won in the competition, and whose greatest incentive will be to give the bell in a scenario like the Bernabéu where they appear after five games without losing, but now without options of even reaching the Europa League .

With only two points, two goals for and three against in the competition, the Scottish club has no chance of advancing in Europe, so its objective is already focused on continuing to dominate a Scottish League in which it is the sole leader , above the Rangers.

In the first leg, the Scots managed to ‘put fear into the body’ of Real Madrid with a vibrant start, pushed by their fans, something that they will surely try to replicate, so the locals will have to come out more concentrated than in their last duels to avoid scares. McGregor and Starfelt are casualties, due to injury, in Ange Postecoglou’s team.



REAL MADRID: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Kroos, Camavinga, Bristles; Asensio, Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr.

CELTIC: Hart; Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Jenz, Taylor; O’Riley, Hatate; Abada, Hakabanovic, Maeda; Furuhashi.

–ARBITOR: Stéphanie Frappart (FRA).

–Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

–TIME: 18.45/Movistar Champions League.