Ahead of the big kick-off, we take you through five different angles related to the 2013 Spanish Cup final. We look into Real Madrid’s defensive line-up, Jose Mourinho’s obligation to win the title, Iker Casillas’ miserable time on the bench, Atletico Madrid’s incredible form in Cup Finals during the past three years, and the influence of their two super strikers – Radamel Falcao and Diego Costa. To cap it off, our preview concludes with hyped up quotes and a final prediction.
Sergio Ramos and Real Madrid’s defensive line
Sergio Ramos has been out of action since April 30 when he came inches away from leading Real Madrid to a gargantuan comeback against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League. The Spanish defender scored a late goal in that match but ended the night on the losing side with as much pain on his body as in his heart.
Espanyol team news
Espanyol will be without Cristian Alvarez, Felipe Mattioni and Samuele Longo. Goalkeeper Kiko Casilla expressed his horror at conceding three early goals against Sevilla last weekend. He described that as the team’s “worst 30 minutes under Javier Aguirre” in which the players “were very uncomfortable”.
Expect Espanyol to tighten up their defence in order to avoid another beating against goal-hungry Real Madrid. Capedvila, scorer of an own goal against Sevilla, may lose his place to left-back Victor Alvarez in the starting line-up.
The La Liga title has been all but confirmed for quite sometime, but a mid-week slip up from Real Madrid could finally confirm what many have known, or at least believed.
Although Tito Vilanova's side could already be crowned champions before their next match against Atletico Madrid, what started off looking like a brilliant campaign for the Blaugrana has slowly lost some of is bright spots.
From their first 18 matches, Barcelona looked destined for yet another record breaking season, if that was even possible, after what they had already accomplished with Pep Guardiola at the helm. The transition to Vilanova did not appear to cause any problems for the Catalans as they kicked off at a remarkable pace.
Miami Beach, Florida (April 28, 2013) – Millions of spectators worldwide will keep their eyes locked on their screen during Tuesday’s Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund match. Some are anti-Madridistas hoping to witness a confirmation of Los Blancos’ failure to reach the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley. Some are German football fans or, specifically, Borussia Dortmund supporters. Others are die-hard Real Madrid fans or neutrals looking to experience thrilling football at its best. With LiveSoccerTV.com (@LiveSoccerTV), you can figure out where to watch Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.
Completing impossible comebacks is nothing new in the history of Real Madrid. The current side, however, is yet to ink such an achievement in the books of the UEFA Champions League. Emilio Butragueno branded Tuesday’s clash against Borussia Dortmund as ‘the match of the decade’.
Team news and analysis
The big news is that Cristiano Ronaldo is back after missing Saturday’s league derby against Atletico. The UEFA Champions League top scorer has been in the tabloids recently for issues concerning his relationship with girlfriend Irina Shayk. Ronaldo, who strongly refuted The Sun’s report via Twitter, will be hoping to rebuild his tarnished image with a perfect performance on the pitch this Tuesday.
The Portuguese number 7 will likely be given a free role with Karim Benzema and Kaka in contention for a First XI spot along the likes of Mesut Özil, Xabi Alonso, Fabio Coentrao, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.
The Spanish press will have its eyes fixed on Real Madrid’s goal post. Which man, between veteran Iker Casillas and January signing Diego Lopez, will Jose Mourinho pick in what Emilio Butragueno described as ‘Real Madrid’s game of the decade’?
Miami Beach, Florida (April 21, 2013) – After Bayern’s home match against FC Barcelona, the eyes of UEFA Champions League lovers will remain in Germany on Wednesday. LiveSoccerTV.com (@LiveSoccerTV) offers you extensive listings to know where to watch Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid at 14:45 EST / 18:45 EST / 20:45 CET on April 24, 2013.
On Saturday, the Germans registered a 2-0 win over Mainz 05. Meanwhile, Real Madrid warmed up for Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League fixture with a 3-1 victory over Levante. Mesut Özil and Karim Benzema put their names on the scoring sheet while Cristiano Ronaldo got unlucky in front of goal a couple of times. Jurgen Klopp’s men will be looking to keep Ronaldo from scoring for a second game in a row.
Cristiano Ronaldo VS Neven Subotic
The biggest threat of the night for Jurgen Klopp will come from Cristiano Ronaldo. Although the Portugal international has always been overshadowed by Lionel Messi, his statistics are equally astonishing and mind-boggling.
This season, he has already scored 46 goals in 45 games, with 11 of those coming in 10 Champions League outings. During his career with the La Liga giants, Ronaldo has averaged more than a goal per game.
Though a winger by trade, Ronaldo has a tendency to cut inside and run through the middle where he is most threatening. This is the position where he can hurt Dortmund which means that Neven Subotic will keep on crossing paths with him regularly.
Team news and analysis
This season, Athletic Bilbao are nowhere near equalling the achievements they had in 2012. By this time, last year, the team had life in Europe. The 2011/12 UEFA Europa League runners-up are suffering from inconsistency in La Liga this season. Bilbao have very little to play for as they rank 14th in the table. Staying clear from the relegation zone is definitely not sufficient for the occupants of San Mames who have forgotten about a top six finish long ago.
Athletic Bilbao have collected red cards in each of their last two games. In their latest fixture, against Sevilla, Aymeric Laporte received an accumulation of two yellow cards. The defender will not take part in Sunday’s home match against Real Madrid. As if Laporte’s loss was not enough, the hosts will have to be without Aduriz, De Marcos and Gurpegi. These three players must serve suspension for picking up too many yellows in the campaign.
Although Real Madrid will step onto the pitch with great confidence following last Saturday’s 5-1 triumph over Levante, “the tie against Galatasaray is not decided,” as Cristiano Ronaldo told the press.
Adding to the pre-match hype was coach Jose Mourinho who noted that “Galatasaray need a miracle, but there are miracles in football. The history of football is full of miracles, so why not? Why can't they dream of a miracle?”
Galatasaray vs Real Madrid could turn out to be the most dramatic fixture of the four UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg clashes.
Suspension and team news
The home side will be missing goal scorer Burak Yilmaz and defender Dany Nonkeu. Inan and Riera should return to the Galatasaray line-up after missing last weekend’s victory against Mersin Idman Yurdu in the Turkish Super Lig. Bulut, meanwhile, is likely to partner Didier Drogba upfront.
Real Madrid were far from impressive over the weekend, drawing 1-1 away to Real Zaragoza. They needed a first-half strike from Ronaldo to pick up a point. In truth, do they rely too much on the Portuguese winger who scored two of the team’s three goals against Manchester United in the Champions League Last 16?
The work rate of Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema is questionable. In Europe, the former is yet to register a goal while his French colleague last found the net against Manchester City in November 2012. The striking pair will need to step up this Wednesday.
Everything started so well for Portugal on Friday when they took an early lead over Israel. That one goal lead quickly turned into a one goal draw, then a 2-1 deficit and then a 3-1 deficit, leaving Portuguese fans frustrated and annoyed, but most of all, some fans were not very surprised.
Luckily for Paulo Bento, the Portuguese were able to rally late and tie the match at three goals, but that still leaves the Lusitanos in third place, even on eight points with Israel, who will take on Northern Ireland in their next match.
Portugal will travel to Azerbaijan to take on Berti Vogts' side who is fifth with three draws and two losses. The hosts have only played one match at home in Baku, and they managed a 1-1 draw against Israel, the same Israel that just scored three goals against Portugal.
With another World Cup Qualification round, comes more nervous moments for a Portuguese side that tends to only hit their stride on the big stage. Time after time Portugal goes through qualifying with some trouble, but they somehow manage to get through.
Even on seven points, Portugal and Israel can earn themselves a three point cushion with a victory on Friday.
Paulo Bento knows that the next two matches are highly important for the Portuguese, so he has made sure that his squad is set on earning six points from both matches.
"What we need to do is obvious, we need to win," the former Portuguese International told reporters.
Miami Beach, Florida (March 20, 2013) – The 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers resume on Friday, March 22, 2013. The action begins with the live broadcast of Israel vs Portugal at 14:45 local time. LiveSoccerTV.com (@LiveSoccerTV) has listed 19 countries where this European World Cup qualifier will air live.
Israel and Portugal share the second spot in Group F but Friday’s hosts have the upper hand due to the goal difference factor. Israel’s run in the 2014 FIFA World Cup has been very inconsistent. They commenced with an unconvincing 1-1 draw away to Azerbaijan before terribly losing 4-0 at home to Russia. However, they took full advantage of Luxembourg’s weakness in the next matches – winning 6-0 away and 3-0 at home in their double header.
This is very much stating the obvious, but United will definitely have to alter their tactics in order to control the Madrid man who has been in electrifying form recently.
Team news and analysis
Updated March 5, 2013 - 2:35PM.
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Cleverley, Giggs; NANI, Welbeck and Van Persie.
Real Madrid: Diego López; Arbeloa, Varane, Ramos, Coentrao; Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Özil, Di María, Cristiano Ronaldo and Higuaín
Robin van Persie is known for losing his temper quite easily. The Dutch player will need to keep his cool on Tuesday as one booking would put him under a ban. The situation is similar for Rafael who was tasked by Alex Ferguson to mark Cristiano Ronaldo in the first leg of this tie at the Santiago Bernabeu. The same goes for influential defender Sergio Ramos and midfielder Xabi Alonso of Real Madrid. These four key players will need to play with caution.
Shinji Kagawa proved his intent to feature against Los Blancos with a hat-trick against Norwich City on Saturday. He made history by becoming the first Asian to net three goals in one match in the English Premier League. If played on Tuesday, he may cause troubles with his pace and desire to make a big impact on the international stage since quitting German football last summer.
The Liverpool front man continued his amazing form in the month of February, scoring three goals in the progress. The number of goals might not reflect his actual contribution to the side, he has displayed an all round performance, notching up goals, linking up brilliantly with his teammates, setting up goals and also contributing to the defense from time to time. His best performance came in the Europa League, against Zenit when he scored a brace against the Russian side to inspire a possible comeback.
The Madrid Talisman capped an excellent month, with a brace against rivals Barcelona in the second leg of the Copa Del Rey semifinal. The forward scored six goals in the month, which also included a hat-trick against Sevilla.