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Preview: Real Madrid vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Audi Cup semi-final between Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur in Germany.

Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur will meet in the semi-finals of the Audi Cup in Germany on Tuesday, with a place in the final of the competition on Wednesday up for grabs.

Bayern Munich and AC Milan will meet later in the evening in the second semi-final as all four teams prepare to face two matches in the space of 24 hours.


Real Madrid

Real Madrid's German midfielder Toni Kroos celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match Celta Vigo vs Real Madrid CF at the Balaidos stadium in Vigo on April 26, 2015© Getty Images

A number of European leagues get underway this coming weekend, but Real Madrid are not in competitive action until August 23, when they open their La Liga campaign away to newly-promoted Sporting Gijon.

While Barcelona have a full schedule of European Super Sup and Spanish Super Cup exploits, Real Madrid have a clear build-up to the new campaign. They will, as mentioned, face two matches this week, before closing their pre-season against Valerenga at the weekend. As a result, head coach Rafael Benitez has plenty of opportunities to try out new things before the start of the season.

In terms of Real Madrid's pre-season thus far, it has been a success. They opened with a 0-0 draw against Roma, before losing to the Italian side on penalties. Los Blancos returned to winning ways in spectacular fashion, however, first beating Manchester City 4-1, before recording an impressive 3-0 victory over Inter Milan.

Real Madrid's final International Champions Cup match in the United States saw them take on AC Milan, and they won on penalties following a goalless 90 minutes of action. Benitez wanted to see defensive improvement and his team have only conceded one goal under his stewardship. Fitness is the name of the game in pre-season, but results in football are always important at every level.

There is expected to be a lot of movement in terms of transfers before the start of the season, but it does appear that Sergio Ramos will be staying at the Bernabeu. Whether David de Gea arrives from Manchester United remains to be seen, but there is no question that Los Blancos will again be a force to be reckoned with in the new campaign.

Carlo Ancelotti could not deliver the La Liga title last season or indeed retain the Champions League. Now it is up to Benitez to wrestle both crowns away from Barcelona. It is far from an easy task for the Spaniard, but if he can improve the team defensively, they will have a serious chance.

Recent form: WLWWW


Tottenham Hotspur

Kieran Trippier #16 of Tottenham Hotspur controls the ball against the MLS All-Stars during the 2015 AT&T Major League Soccer All-Star game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on July 29, 2015© Getty Images

Real Madrid are only really in the middle of their preparations for the new campaign, but the same cannot be said for Tottenham, who open their Premier League season away to Manchester United this weekend. It is not the kindest of starts for the capital outfit, who were beaten 2-1 by MLS All Stars in their first official pre-season match on Thursday.

Harry Kane found the back of the net for Spurs in Colorado, but goals from familiar faces Kaka and David Villa meant that Mauricio Pochettino's side suffered a narrow defeat. There is no time for Spurs to dwell on the result, however, as they face two quick-fire games, starting with Real Madrid.

Bayern Munich or AC Milan will be their opponents on August 5 in either the third-place play-off or the final and in truth, whether or not they win this competition is not too important. Two 90-minute matches are on offer for Pochettino's team, who have had far less playing-time this summer than a number of their Premier League rivals.

Not too much has been made of Spurs' summer business, but they have made some smart signings in the window, bringing in Toby Alderweireld, Kevin Wimmer and Kieran Trippier to boost the defence. There is a feeling that the squad is still light in forward areas and it is understood that their movement in the market is far from complete at this stage.

Tottenham cannot really afford a slow start to the season, however, with a series of tough games in the opening weeks. As mentioned, they travel to Manchester United on August 8, before welcoming Stoke City one week later. They then travel to Leicester City, before welcoming Everton.

A top-four push is again going to be on the agenda in the new season, but it is difficult to see the London side muscling into a Champions League position, especially as their squad stands. These next two games, starting with Real Madrid, will indicate just how much business needs to occur before the window slams shut in little under a month.

Recent form: WWWWL


Team News

Gareth Bale wearing Real Madrid's fetching pink away strip on August 31, 2014© Getty Images

With two games in 24 hours, it is quite difficult to predict just what XIs each manager will select.

Should Gareth Bale be selected, it will be the first time that he has faced Spurs since leaving the Premier League side for Real Madrid in 2013.

Neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Karim Benzema have travelled with the Real Madrid squad, however, after picking up back and thigh injuries respectively.

Kiko Casilla could replace Keylor Navas between the sticks for the Spanish side, but James Rodriguez might have to make do with another appearance off the bench as he continues his comeback.

As for Spurs, Kane is once again expected to lead the line. The England international should be supported by Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli, while Dele Alli could make his first start.

Further back, Pochettino could again go with the centre-back partnership of Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen for a second game in succession.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Casilla; Danilo, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Kroos, Casemiro; Bale, Jese, Vasquez

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Vorm; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Bentaleb, Dembele; Chadli, Eriksen, Alli; Kane


Head To Head

In total, these two teams have met on four occasions. Real Madrid have won three of those particular matches, while one draw has also occurred.

Two of those games were back in the 1985-86 season in the UEFA Cup, when Tottenham lost 1-0 at home, before the pair played out a 0-0 draw in Madrid.

More recently, the pair clashed in the quarter-finals of the 2010-11 Champions League and it was Real Madrid that won 5-0 on aggregate.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Real Madrid 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur

Much depends on the team selection, but it is difficult to predict anything offer than a Real Madrid victory. Spurs have improved defensively, but that might not be enough against such a strong attack.

It could be tight for long spells, but we expect Real Madrid's quality - even without Benzema and Ronaldo - to ultimately shine through and be enough to claim a routine 2-0 victory at the Allianz Arena in Munich.



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Mauricio Pochettino the Spurs manager directs his players during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at Boleyn Ground on August 16, 2014
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