Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid
European Super Cup. Kick-Off: 8:00pm, August 15th. Live on BTSport 2
WE have a cracking contest this Wednesday evening as Champions League winners Real Madrid face off with their city rivals, and Europa League winners Atletico Madrid with the European Super Cup on the line in Tallinn, Estonia.
For the first time in a decade, Real Madrid goes into a new season without the great Cristiano Ronaldo and you have to wonder just how much the 13 times European Cup winners will miss the Portuguese forward in the coming weeks and months.
With a direct replacement yet to be acquired, much of the onus will now fall on the shoulders of Gareth Bale who, at 28, has to grab the proverbial Spanish bull by the horns in what is surely a make or break season for the Welsh forward.
With Ronaldo (and his 450 goals in 438 Real appearances) now nothing more than a wistful memory for Madridistas, it will be interesting to see if Bale can step up to the plate and replace the departed goal machine. The early signs are promising with the Welsh talisman bagging 5 goals in 4 pre-season wins over high-calibre opponents in Milan, Roma, Juventus and Liverpool.
Across the city, Atletico have invested well this summer with the additions of Thomas Lemar and Gelson Martins providing added pace and width to a side that will have genuine aspirations of challenging for the La Liga title once again under the stewardship of their magnetic manager, Diego Simeone.
While both sides have yet to start their domestic campaigns, Real have had the better of pre-season, winning 4 of their 5 fixtures and while Atletico have only managed 1 win from their 5 pre-season contests, we should expect another closely fought battle, with draws occurring in more than 50% of these two sides past meetings over the last 4 seasons.
Indeed, Atletico's recent recover over their great rivals is an excellent one having lost only 3 of their last 17 including just 1 of the last 5 and I expect them to avoid defeat here, at least in 90 minutes.
Intriguingly, in each of the last 3 occasions that these two sides have faced each other in a final, the match has finished level after 90 minutes and that outcome is priced @11/5 and seems to have every chance with these two also drawing 7 of their last 13 meetings.
BTTS is also likely with Real rarely keeping clean sheets (only 4 in their last 20 competitive fixtures) and the price of 4/5 does tempt but with only 5 of the last 12 Madrid derbies seeing that outcome, I won’t be recommending BTTS here (even if I have gone for a 1.1 draw)
Ultimately, I expect a tight affair and the Estonian crowd could well be in for an additional 30 minutes entertainment with the latest installment of the Madrid derby once again finishing all square after 90 minutes.