The late El Clásico win at the Camp Nou will bring an injection of morale to Real Madrid in order to fight for the UEFA Champions League. The draw paired them up with a German team for the fifth consecutive season. Wolfsburg aren’t performing particularly well in the Bundesliga, but they shouldn’t be underestimated. Going in thinking you’ve won already does more harm.
Preferred Formation: 4-3-3
Zinedine Zidane has found the missing link between his defenders and the attack. With Casemiro on the pitch, the team has won every single match. The belief in working as a solid block has brought good results. Because of this, it’s a safe bet that this system will stick at least until the end of the season. Having players like Jesé and Lucas Vázquez also gives the coach good alternatives.
GK: Keylor Navas
The Costa Rican wasn’t afraid of the MSN and kept his team in the game until Cristiano’s goal. He has also done well in the European competition this year, as he’s still pursuing a historic record.
Dani Carvajal beat him to the lineup on Saturday and did well. However, Danilo is also deserving minutes and has good odds of starting the match. The search for away goals requires an offensive mentality.
Compared to his partner in the center of the defense, he performed just slightly better. Varane’s absence on Monday’s training session sets Pepe up for another starting appearance at the Volkswagen Arena.
CB: Sergio Ramos
His attitude and performance against Barcelona wasn’t ideal. A lot more leadership and example should be set by the captain of the team. Nevertheless, it seems Zidane still trusts him to be in charge of the defense.
Saturday’s equalizer came from his boots, as he created the play by finding space among the opponents. Cristiano helping him in the defense also proved to be an important part of working as a solid block.
RCM: Luka Modrić
Mateo Kovačić wasn’t even called up for last weekend’s match. Luka didn’t rest at all during the international break and should stop soon. With this being the UCL, the chances of benching him are slim, yet Mateo could be the surprise.
He’s hogging most of the attention, as he’s worked hard to make himself a starter and beating Isco and James. Zizou will keep playing him, with the hopes of maintaining that block together.
LCM: Toni Kroos
Casemiro gives him more freedom to move forward. Because of this, he was able to provide the pass that eventually ended up becoming Benzema’s goal. His return to Germany might give him extra motivation.
RW: Gareth Bale
Scoring goals isn’t the only thing that makes you stand out in a game. Bale proved to be very helpful in attack, providing the winning assist. In addition, he was often seen in the back helping Carvajal deal with rivals.
ST: Karim Benzema
He didn’t actually play all that well at the Camp Nou, but he was at the right place, at the right time and did what he’s asked to do. He has a special appreciation for the Champions League, so he could improve performance wise on Wednesday.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
He gradually got more involved in El Clásico and was once again the deciding force that led to the win. This should motivate him to finish the season with a lot more goals and hopefully some titles.