Real Madrid’s squad depth is set to be tested to the full with a tight upcoming schedule
The next month will see Madrid face a huge amount of games, putting the responsibility firmly on the shoulders of the fringe players.
Until now, one might be able to consider Real Madrid’s season only mildly demanding in terms of the physical output. The side have played 4 league games plus a short international break in the middle and all of the players who travelled have returned fully fit and ready to go again.
Despite this ‘kind’ start to the season, the club have seen plenty of injuries that have muddied the otherwise positive feelings: Ceballos, Mendy, Vinicius, Güler, Courtois and Militão have all fallen at the early stages of the campaign and the latter two will miss the entire campaign.
Real Madrid set to face tight turnarounds
But even given the issues, Madrid have survived: they have won all of their games and sit top of the league. However, a mini-marathon is approaching over the next weeks and it will put the already strained squad to the test. A team of 23 players for the season is already down to 21 for the 23/24 campaign, and they are set to be put under pressure with an unfavourable calendar that is looming large.
Over the next three weeks, Madrid will play 7 games in 21 or 22 days (depending on whether the game vs Osasuna is scheduled for October 7 or 8) which works out as a game every three days. In that run there are 4 games at the Santiago Bernabéu and three away from home, all against opponents who are going to push the squad - starting with Real Sociedad at home on Sunday 17 September 2023 (kick-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET/12:00 noon PT).
What is Real Madrid’s schedule next month?
After that, they play against Union Berlin at home and then the Derbi Madrileño against Atlético Madrid. The intensity of the opponents will drop slightly after that, as Madrid will go up against Girona, although their record at Montilivi is poor: they have won two and lost two and never kept a clean sheet.
Before the international break (yes, another one) scheduled for October, Madrid will visit Italy to play Napoli. Osasuna then go to the Bernabéu in a pair of hugely tricky games for Ancelotti to deal with.
This stretch of the calendar is going to need the help of many of Madrid’s fringe players: Brahim, who has only played 13 minutes so far, is one of them. Vázquez (14 minutes), Nacho (54 minutes), Ceballos and Mendy are a few others. Even Kroos and Modric (163 minutes and 133 minutes) are two players who will be expected to carry some of the weight. “It’s true that his role has changed”, Ancelotti said about the Croatian, “he’s only started one game, but I’ve spoken to him. He’s going to be a key player”.