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UCL: RB Leipzig vs Real Madrid – Match Preview, Team News, Predicted XIs

Vinicius Junior prepares for UCL tie against RB Leipzig

Still boasting an unblemished record in the 2023-24 Champions League, 14-time winners Real Madrid begin their knockout journey on Tuesday, as RB Leipzig welcome them to Germany for the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Vinicius Junior prepares for UCL tie against RB Leipzig

Los Blancos blew the competition out of the water to place first in Group C, while Marco Rose’s team finished second in Group G behind reigning champions Manchester City.

Group G of the 2023-24 Champions League certainly followed the pre-tournament script, as while Man City sailed into the sunset with a perfect record of 18 points from six fixtures, RB Leipzig – as expected – fended off Young Boys and Red Star Belgrade to take the runners-up position.

Die Roten Bullen were powerless to snap Man City’s winning streak in Europe’s premier competition – losing 3-1 at home and 3-2 at the Etihad to the current holders – but each of their other four Group G fixtures ended in victory, albeit not entirely convincing ones.

RB Leipzig vs Real Madrid: Team News

Leipzig head coach Rose is blessed with a near fully-fit contingent of players to choose from on Tuesday, but Amadou Haidara missed the draw with Augsburg due to a minor knee injury and is a major doubt for the home side at the time of writing.

Defensive duo Mohamed Simakan and Benjamin Henrichs must tread carefully tonight, as they are both just one booking away from serving a one-match ban in the Champions League, but the former started all six group-stage games and ought to be recalled to the side here.

Real Madrid also have a concern over one of their midfielders for Tuesday’s first leg, albeit a much more high-profile one, as Bellingham was forced to leave the field against Girona with a sprained ankle just moments after scoring his side’s third goal.

The ex-Borussia Dortmund man has now been ruled out for three weeks with the sprain, so Brahim Diaz should gear up to feature in the number 10 position, while Antonio Rudiger will not be back from a thigh issue in time for the midweek fixture either.

However, Nacho Fernandez‘s expected return from a muscle issue means that Real will at least have one senior centre-back available for the first leg of the Uefa Champions League, where ACL victims Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois will all watch on helplessly once again.

Predicted Uefa Champions League XIs

RB Leipzig possible starting lineup:
Gulacsi; Simakan, Lukeba, Orban, Raum; Olmo, Schlager, Kampl, Simons; Sesko, Openda

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Lunin; Carvajal, Tchouameni, Nacho, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Camavinga; Diaz; Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo

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