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UEFA Champions League

UCL 2023-24: RB Leipzig vs Real Madrid: Combined XI

Published at :February 12, 2024 at 3:30 PM
Modified at :February 12, 2024 at 3:30 PM
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Amid the injury crisis of Los Blancos, RB Leipzig offer further depth to this combined squad

RB Leipzig were clubbed alongside defending champions Man City, Young Boys and Crvena zvezda in Group G of the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League. The German outfit won four out of six group games. The two defeats came against Pep Guardiola’s men in both home and away. A second-placed finish helped them progress further.

Real Madrid on the other hand started in Group C. The group consisted of Italian giants Napoli, SC Braga and Union Berlin. They went about the UCL business with class – six games, six wins. Apart from Los Blancos only City have managed to total 18 points in the group stages this season. After an unquestionable first-place finish, they will look to strive for more.

After the group phase was dealt with UEFA organised a Round of 16 draw on 18 December 2023. The draw results fate had RB Leipzig set to take on 14-time UCL winners Real Madrid. Before the contest begins, we try to bond a combined XI out of the available options before the first leg.

RB Leipzig vs Real Madrid: Combined XI: Formation: 4-3-1-2

GK: Andriy Lunin (Real Madrid)

With Thibaut Courtois recovering from a long-term knee issue, the choice fell in between Hungarian goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi and Ukrainian Andriy Lunin. Lunin was picked over Gulácsi because of more game experience this UCL season while also having a clean sheet.

RB: Daniel Carvajal (Real Madrid)

Six months back, there were doubts regarding the assurances Daniel Carvajal brought in the right-back position. The player was getting regular injury problems and was on the wrong side of 30. And what difference six months can bring? Now the player seems irreplaceable.

CB: Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig)

Los Blancos have lost many key defensive figures this season. With the likes of David Alaba, Éder Militão and Antonio Rüdiger out injured, the only sensible option was Leipzig’s Lukas Klostermann. Willi Orbán may have made his return from injury known but the player is still catching up on match fitness.

CB: Nacho Fernández (Real Madrid)

It has not been even a month since Nacho Fernández celebrated his 34th birthday. The centre-back comes back in at the best time possible. Last LaLiga game, against Girona, Carlo Ancelotti used a makeshift centre-back pairing of Carvajal and Aurelien Tchouameni. Nacho will provide leadership qualities and winning experience from his 5 UCL trophy collections.

LB: David Raum (RB Leipzig)

The German international has been deliberately chosen over either of the Spanish giants’ offerings Fran García or Ferland Mendy. David Raum not only provides great defensive cover as a left-back but is good at going forward. In 5 UCL group games, the full-back has a goal and two assists to show for.

RCM: Federico Valverde (Real Madrid)

A kind of complete midfielder to start our midfield trio. The Uruguayan can do all sorts of things – running, shooting, tracking back opponents and many more. A reliable asset at the luxuries of Real Madrid for a reason.

CM: Aurélien Tchouaméni (Real Madrid)

Aurélien Tchouaméni will provide further cover to the defensive line centrally. The French defensive midfielder has a knack for winning the ball back from opponents. That is exactly what Tchouaméni is deployed here for.

LCM: Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig)

If a player can score a hat trick to start a season that too against Bayern Munich – isn’t he ‘really’ good? The former La Masia trainee, Dani Olmo had opened the 2023-24 season with three goals in the DFL-Supercup. Although his season involvements were limited due to injuries, he is available for UCL now. In only 15 minutes of game time in the continental event, he has a goal in the bag.

CAM: Xavi Simons (RB Leipzig)

Xavi Simons Manchester City vs RB Leipzig
Xavi Simons has 14 goal-contributions in the 2023-24 season (Courtesy: Bundesliga)

Superstar Jude Bellingham would have been the first choice in this position. But after hitting a brace of goals he was down holding his left ankle against Girona in the last match. Real Madrid released a statement stating that Bellingham suffered a “high-grade sprain”. Amidst the unavailability, Xavi Simons is the perfect man to look out for. From 6 appearances in UCL – 2 goals and 2 assists.

RF: Loïs Openda (RB Leipzig)

Given the combined XI is already set up for creativity, we needed a goal-getting threat that could instil fear in opponents. Former RC Lens forward is the one too good at doing this business. With 4 goals in the group stages so far, Loïs Openda also has 15 in 21 Bundesliga games.

LF: Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

Last LaLiga game for Real Madrid went something like this – Vinicius Junior scored one and provided two assists. In the post-match conference, Carlo Ancelotti backed his player with words as such “the best in the world”. In just 3 glimpse appearances in the Champions League, the Brazilian has 2 goals and 3 assists. Maybe the number 7 of former Los Blancos star Cristiano Ronaldo found the ‘right shoulders’.

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