Real Madrid will kickstart their 2023/24 UEFA Champions League campaign on Wednesday, as los Blancos welcome Union Berlin to the recently renovated Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. Having finished ten points behind Barcelona in LaLiga last term, Real Madrid have somewhat of a point to prove – and they’ll look to mark their return to European competition with a bang after being eliminated in the 2022/23 semifinals by Manchester City.
Die Eisernen have certainly drawn the short straw with their first-ever UEFA Champions League match, and a trip to the home of the most successful club in the tournament’s history will pose a significant challenge for the team that finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season.
Carlo Ancelotti has made four changes to his starting eleven that faced Real Sociedad on Sunday. Antonio Rüdiger will be joined at centre-back by Nacho Fernández, who replaces Fran García – allowing David Alaba to move out to the left side of the defence. Lucas Vázquez slots in for Dani Carvajal at right-back.
Jude Bellingham and Aurélien Tchouaméni retain their places in a heavily-rotated midfield, with Toni Kronos and Federico Valverde making way for Luka Modrić and Eduardo Camavinga.
Rodrygo and Joselu both start up front, with the Spaniard having netted the winner in Sunday’s LaLiga clash.
Union Berlin’s side also features four changes. Diogo Leite and Danilho Doekhi start in a three-man defence alongside Leonardo Bonucci, with the Italian stalwart replacing Robin Knoche.
Robin Gosens, Alex Král and Aïssa Laïdouni retain their places in midfield, though Janik Haberer and Christopher Trimmel have been replaced by Lucas Tousart and Josip Juranović.
Kevin Behrens starts up front alongside Sheraldo Becker, with the Suriname forward replacing Chelsea loanee David Datro Fofana.
RMA: Kepa; Alaba, Nacho, Rüdiger, Vázquez; Camavinga, Modrić, Tchouaméni; Bellingham; Joselu, Rodrygo
FCU: Rønnow; Leite, Doekhi, Bonucci; Gosens, Laïdouni, Král, Tousart, Juranović; Behrens, Becker