• Los Blancos welcome Deportivo to the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday as they set about defending the La Liga title.

    Real Madrid head into the clash fresh off the back of a double Supercopa victory over rivals Barcelona.

    Deportivo struggles last season but they remain in the top-flight after finishing five points above the drop zone.

    Pre-season preparations

    Real Madrid

    Zidane’s men enjoyed the perfect preparation for this season after claiming the UEFA Super Cup and the Spanish Supercopa ahead the upcoming campaign.

    Real beat their El Clasico rivals in both Super Cup legs, but they did lose to them in the International Champions Cup pre-season competition.

    Image Credits: Twitter

    Los Blancos also took on the MLS All-Stars during the summer and they could only take a 1-1 draw from the States.

    Deportivo La Coruna

    Pepe Mel had an impressive impact at Deportive when he joined in February and the former Fulham boss managed to keep them in the league.

    Deportivo kept hold of Mel over the summer and he now has the task of drastically improving on a poor season having had a full pre-season with his team.

    La Coruna’s only defeat of pre-season arrived against FC Porto in a 4-0 defeat, but they made up for that with wins over Tenerife, West Brom and Real Ferol.

    Predicted Lineups

    Real Madrid

    Zidane has a tough choice to make with Asensio hitting supreme form during pre-season, and especially against Barcelona in the Supercopa.

    The Real Madrid boss can’t afford to cut out Gareth Bale with Ronaldo’s absence and links away, and it will be between Isco and Asensio on the right.

    The only unavailable players are Cristiano Ronaldo through suspension and Jesus Vallejo.

    Deportivo la Coruna

    Pepe Mel will be without Carlos Gil and Florin Andone will be fighting to return from injury up top.

    Bakkali joined on loan from Valencia in the summer and with something to prove, Deportivo are hoping to get the best out of him.

    Deportivo have their work cut out at the Bernabeu, but a back four of Luisinho, Sidnei, Schar and Juanfran will be hoping to limit their star-studded opponents.

    Key Battle

    Asensio Vs Bakkali

    Zidane will surely start Marco Asensio following his form in pre-season and if he does, then he’s the man to watch.

    Everything he touches seems to be turning to gold at the moment, and Deportivo will be praying that they are not his latest victim.

    Zakaria Bakkali is the man who could do damage for Deportive with his pace out wide.

    He’s young, he has something to prove to parent club Valencia this season, and there are high hopes for his future.

    Talking Points

    Image Credits: Twitter

    Who misses out on the wing?

    This decision has been made a little easier for Ziane with the five-game suspension of Cristiano Ronaldo, although that ban is currently being appealed.

    Isco and Asensio are the in-form men and on merit, they should get the nod, but as ever at Real Madrid, politics are at play.

    Gareth Bale quite easily matches them both on his day but following an injury last season, he hasn’t found his rhythm just yet.

    However, with transfer links looming large, the big question is whether Zidane can really afford to drop Gareth Bale.

    Can Deportivo put up a fight?

    No one will be expecting Deportivo to take anything from the Santiago Bernabeu in their season opener, but they will be able to answer some questions.

    Will they be pushovers like they were so often last season? Or has Pepe Mel put together a more organised side?

    They will need to be far more resilient this season and they will need to concede far less than 61 goals.

     

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