P. P. San Martín

Kroos will have to step it up

Real Madrid - Deportivo live

No time for easing back in

Toni Kroos has returned to the fold ahead of schedule after a nasty injury. It’s good news for Zidane, and the German midfielder arrives just in time to exert some control in the Real Madrid midfield with his skill and experience. He will return with certain expectations pinned on his shoulders, mainly through the need for him to get up to speed quickly in terms of his work rate and performance levels. In his absence, Modric, Kovacic, Isco and even James, against Dortmund, have grown into their roles and performed well, which means Kroos will have to step it up given that his place in the side is now far from set in stone.

Moving up a gear

Competition at Real Madrid always demands more. Kroos is a top player with numerous virtues, but this return from injury could be the perfect time to take things to another level, for instance improve his goalscoring threat. Last year he only managed one goal in LaLiga and so far this year his return has been the same. It’s true that he is not a goalscorer per se, but at Bayern he would score nine in a season. This evening Kroos will be the reference point in the middle of the park against a blunt Depor side away from Riazor. Perhaps it’s a good chance for the German midfielder to find his feet quickly and move out of his comfort zone by offering Madrid another dimension. He will have to bite the bullet and gain some authority to become a key player in Zidane’s side.