REAL MADRID

Problem areas Real Madrid must fix ahead of the Liverpool game

Casemiro's erratic form, improving when the team is without the ball, dealing with crosses in from the wings... Zidane has work to do before the Champions League final.
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Marcelo, Ramos y Casemiro pelean un balón con Lewandowski
AFP

Real Madrid landed a place in what will be their third consecutive Champions League final this week but the team suffered to get past Bayern Munich at the Bernabéu. Here are a few of the key problem areas which Zidane and his coaching team will be attempting to put straight over the next three weeks in the run-up to the final against Liverpool in Kiev on 26 May:

Physical recovery plan

Fatigue is going to be an unavoidable issue for some players. Real Madrid have four league games left to play - including three tough away games, starting with Sunday's Clásico at Camp Nou. Barça may have already won the league but the only motivation left is to try to knock Atlético from second place. Zidane has to decide whether to rest some of his key players by fielding changed sides with a busier schedule than Liverpool - four games in three weeks, including two midweek games. Pride will be at stake against Barcelona on Sunday, while Sevilla and Villarreal are battling for the last European places - all of those games will demand great physical exertion and several players finished the return leg against Bayern completely exhausted. Zidane must decide who to rest for the games against Barcelona (Sunda 6th; 20:45 CEST), Sevilla (Wednesday 9th; 21:30 CEST), Celta (Saturday 12th; 18:30 CEST) and Villarreal (19th or 20th; tbc).

Casemiro

Another issue which Zidane has to sort out is getting Casemiro back to his best. The midfielder started the return leg against Bayern on the bench and fielded Kovacic in his place. Casemiro was brought on in the 72nd minute in an attempt to regain control of the midfield but without much success.

More leadership from Kroos

Real Madrid need Toni Kroos to step up his involvement in the team's moves. The German was absent against Bayern, participatiing less than he has in other games this season. Kroos is one of the main men in the team's engine room and a specialist in set-piece deliveries and picking up on loose ball on the edge of the penalty area to shoot.

Asensio, doubts about a place in the starting XI

Asensio hasn't grasped any of the starting opportunities he's been given. He's fine coming on off the bench but left doubts during his 87 minutes on the pitch on Tuesday night. Madrid echó en falta la energía y la velocidad que aporta cuando sale desde el banquillo.

Problems at with both full-backs

Bayern exposed weaknesses in Madrid's defence on both flanks. Zidane was only able to include five defenders in his squad for the return leg - including the recently-returned Nacho, who has been sidelined for a month and is not match-fit. First choice right-back Dani Carvajal suffered a tear to his left hamstring in the first leg and could be out for another week to 10 days. Nacho, his natural replacement, has not played since picking up a thigh injury in the Week 30 game against Las Palmas. Against Bayern, both stand-in right-back Lucas Vázquez and Marcelo, who is also having an up-and-down season by his standards, had a torrid time of it trying to deal with Kimmich, James and Ribéry. Bayern put 38 crosses into the Madrid box during the match. On top of that, were the 11 corners which Bayern won, compared to Madrid's six.

Marcelo

Struggling when pressed

Madrid appeared overwhelmed during moments of Tuesday's game when they were put under constant pressure from Bayern. The German team punished their opponents for their lack of ideas in the centre of the park and Los Blancos could really suffer in that department against Liverpool. Klopp's team are experts at gegenpressing and will play a high line in Kiev, pouncing on any lapses or mistakes and pushing forward to the Madrid penalty area with just a minimal amount of touches.

Improving off the ball

Bayern had more of the ball the other night, enjoying 59.9% possession compared to Madrid's 40.1%. When Heyncke's team were in possession, Madrid looked leaden and devoid of ideas. In their favour however, were the recovery figures. Los Blancos won the ball back 61 times, one more than their guests.

Champions League

Table PTS W D L
1Tottenham 16 5 1 0
2Real Madrid 13 4 1 1
3B. Dortmund 2 0 2 4
Full standing
Next matches
Real Madrid - TBC S-26/05 20:45
Fixtures

*Update 2 de mayo de 2018

Champions League

Table PTS W D L
1PSG 15 5 0 1
2Bayern 15 5 0 1
3Celtic 3 1 0 5
Full standing

*Update 2 de mayo de 2018