This year’s Spanish Super cup is going to be a real treat for all fans of the beautiful game. The two teams facing off are none other than last season’s Champions League finalists, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. It’s the Spanish champions against the European champions, el derbi Madrileño. The cup ties will take place on the 19th of August for the first leg and the 22nd of August for the return leg.
Real Madrid host the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu. The home fans will be hoping for a flying start from Los Blancos or the ‘new Galacticos’ I should say. The support will be in full force throughout both legs and will be very important for both teams. A derby always calls for more emotions and passion on the field, which in turn translates to a more aggressive game. I expect to see both teams fighting every ball and treating this like the Champions League final. We’re going to miss Diego Costa for this series of games unfortunately.
Atletico Madrid’s Attack
The departures of Adrian Lopez, David Villa, and Diego Costa make it seem as though Atletico have lost their bite, but on the contrary they’ve made some great signings. Mario Mandzukic, Antoine Griezmann, Raul Jimenez, and Saul Ñiguez. These are some adequate signings to replace the championship winning attack Simeone had last season. The only question that remains is whether or not they’ve had enough time together to learn the new system and philosophy of Simeone. ‘El Cholo’ will most likely utilize his starting attack in these last two “friendly” games in preparation for the season opener. Friendly doesn’t exist between these two historic teams.
Atletico’s Main Man between the sticks
Thibaut Courtois has returned to Chelsea and left a huge void for Atletico between the sticks. Courtois was a secure presence and a top quality shot-stopper. Atletico went shopping and purchased two keepers in Miguel Moya from Getafe and Jan Oblak from Benfica. Both will have a tough task in replicating the form that Courtois showed and the first huge test is up against Real’s firepower.
When Ronaldo plays well, Real play well. If Ronaldo can have one of those trademark nights marauding down the flank, cutting in, and taking a curling shot then Atletico’s defense will have their hands full all night. The additions of Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez enhanced Real Madrid’s attack to a whole new level and once they start gaining experience playing together they will only bring out the best in each other. This team will score bags of goals all season, but the man with the number seven jersey is the vital cog in this attack.
Real have not had a great pre-season this summer. They failed to impress while on their U.S tour and just recently fell to Fiorentina this past weekend; however, they have won when it mattered against Sevilla in the UEFA Supercup. Pre-season is never an adequate barometer to predict a team’s chances for the season and Real Madrid will surely perform when it matters.
Atletico will be coming into this tie with confidence. They haven’t had a stellar pre-season either, but in recent games they have looked better and are beginning to take their shape again after all the departures they suffered this summer. They beat Sampdoria over the weekend and rested many of their starters with one eye on Real Madrid. Confidence is high and as Simeone said, his team “plays with balls”.
Projected Starting XI for Atletico Madrid
Projected Starting XI for Real Madrid
An early La Liga showdown between two Spanish heavyweights, but for the first leg I predict Real Madrid edges out Atletico solely because of the home support. Atletico will not make it easy for Los Blancos. Both teams will want to win this title over their rivals and convincingly. For neutrals, Real fans, and Atletico fans this will be the perfect appetizer for the La Liga season.
First Leg Score Prediction – Real Madrid 2-1 Atletico Madrid
Second Leg Score Prediction – Atletico Madrid 2-2 Real Madrid