Carlo Ancelotti will put all his new stars into play as Real Madrid take on Sevilla in the first final of the season. The Italian manager has confirmed James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos will feature in the starting eleven in their first official match with Los Blancos.
Real will seek to lift their second UEFA Super Cup, and they’ll have the advantage of playing in Gareth Bale’s home, with most of the crowed supporting them. Cardiff City Stadium will host the European Super Cup final for the first time.
The Welshman arrives to this game with great motivation and in very good shape. He is the team’s top scorer of the pre-season, and is willing to be decisive just like he was in his two previous finals with Los Merengues: the Champions League and the Copa del Rey.
Cristiano Ronaldo will also play from the start, despite having recently recovered from an injury. Karim Benzema will very likely complete the forward line.
The main concern for Real Madrid fans will be whether the midfield trio formed by Kroos, James and Luka Modric will manage to provide the required defensive balance, since the three of them are more of a playmaker than defensive midfielders.
Daniel Carvajal and Fabio Coentrao are expected to feature as full-backs, since Alvaro Arbeloa and Marcelo are in worse physical condition.
Meanwhile, Sevilla will surely miss world-class playmaker Ivan Rakitic, who has joined Barcelona this summer. However, Unai Emery seems to have found a perfect substitute in young Spaniard Denis Suarez, who arrived on loan from the Azulgranas reserve team.
The Andalucians will surely be willing to defend tightly, and hope to score in a counter-attack, with Colombian Carlos Bacca being their main threat. Striker Iago Aspas, on loan from Liverpool, will also try to show his value in his first official game for Sevilla.
Both clubs have won this trophy once. Real did it in 2002, while Sevilla took it home in 2006. Los Blancos are favourites to get a second Super Cup win, but their lack of form could favour the Andalusians, who have played more pre-season games this summer.
Real Madrid: Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Kroos, Modric, James; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Sevilla: Beto; Coke, Fazio, Pareja, Navarro; Carrico, Iborra; Vitolo, Reyes, Vidal; Bacca.