When Real Madrid plays Osasuna at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Sunday, they hope to keep their undefeated start to the season.
Before a fortnight that could see them guarantee their place in the knockout stage of the tournament with two matches against Shakhtar Donetsk, before playing FC Barcelona in the first “Clasico” of the season, Carlo Ancelotti’s team enters the contest with six victories from six in La Liga and two victories from their two Champions League games.
Ancelotti would be tempted to rest several first team regulars for the first of those games against Shakhtar on Wednesday, especially those who have returned from international duty, but the injuries to Lucas Vazquez and Luka Modric slightly restrict his options.
Karim Benzema is able to play after missing a month due to a muscle ailment, but Ancelotti may opt to ease the Frenchman back into the action. As a result, Rodrygo will likely continue to lead the assault.
The Brazilian and Fede Valverde both performed admirably prior to the international break, and the fact that one of them will likely miss midweek action due to Benzema’s comeback speaks much about the depth of Madrid’s squad.
Eder Militao is currently available in central defense, where Ancelotti has a number of options to spread the workload, including Nacho, Antonio Rudiger, and David Alaba. Eduardo Camvinga, Aurelien Tchouamen, and Dani Ceballos are all options to replace Modric, who will be out for approximately 10 days.
Osasuna had a strong start to the season, but before the international break, they suffered a defeat at home to Getafe, and they don’t enjoy going to the Bernabeu.
In their last 18 excursions to Real Madrid’s home field, the Pamplona team has failed to win, and in their last 10 visits, they have only managed one draw.