It was confirmed yesterday that Gareth Bale will feature against Fuenlabrada in the Copa del Rey and Zinedine Zidane is tipped to go with a blend of youth and experience this evening. With El Classico less than a month away, the Frenchman is wary of his key players picking up any injuries and that means a chance to impress for some of the club’s youngsters.
The tie is already in Real Madrid’s favour, with a 2-0 aggregate lead. With the greatest of respect to Fuenlabrada, it’s doubtful that the deficit will be overturned, even against a second string side. This makes it the ideal opportunity to try out some of Real’s young guns.
Real Madrid Predicted Lineup v Fuenlabrada
Keylor Navas didn’t feature against Malaga but is expected to make his comeback between the sticks here. He’ll have Raphael Varane and Nacho in front of him as a solid centre-back pairing. 19-year-old right-back Achraf Hakimi has played six times for Los Blancos and is tipped to start this evening. On the opposite side of defence Theo Hernandez will make his tenth appearance for the club.
In midfield, Mateo Kovacevic has recently returned to full fitness and will benefit from some first team football. 22-year-old defensive midfielder Marcos Llorente has returned from a loan to Alaves and is set to make his sixth appearance. Dani Ceballos, pricey acquisition from Real Betis, made his third start in the first leg and is expected to make the lineup here. He recently bagged a hat-trick for Spain U21’s and will be keen to try and nail down a first-team slot
Gareth Bale will occupy the right-hand side of an attacking three but isn’t expected to play the full 90 minutes. Lucas Vasquez will come in on the left flank and Mayoral who scored on his only other start, will lead the line for the home side. And that completes our predicted lineup.
Real Madrid (4-3-3 Formation): Navas; Theo, Varane, Nacho, Achraf; Kovacic, Llorente, Ceballos; Vasquez, Mayoral, Bale