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Real Madrid to suffer defeat in Dortmund

Spanish and European champions Real Madrid have made a mixed start to their domestic campaign. However, on Tuesday night Los Blancos can take a break from their relative La Liga strugglers when they visit in-form German outfit Borussia Dortmund.

Dortmund have made a strong start to their Bundesliga campaign. However, Peter Bosz’s side suffered a 3-1 defeat at Tottenham in their group game of this year’s competition. Since the defeat at Spurs, BVB have recorded three straight league wins in the German top-flight, scoring 14 goals in the process.

The home side’s recent record in the Champions League is poor, as the German side have won just one of their last six games in the competition while suffering four defeats in their last five games.

BVB’s home record in the Champions League is a better, though, as they have won three of their last four outings in Europe’s elite competition. The German side have also scored two or more goals in their last three home outings at the Signal Iduna Park.

Real Madrid have struggled to hit top form this season, but that did not stop the European champions recording a comfortable 3-0 win over APOEL in their first group game of this seasons competition.

Zinedine Zidane’s team have looked strong in this competition in recent years. In fact, the visitors have won six of their last eight games in the Champions League, scoring two or more goals in seven of those eight games.

The European champions have also won four of their last five away games in the Champions League and have scored two or more goals in six of their last seven outings on their travels in this competition.

However, Forebet believes that the visitors good away form in the competition will end in this clash and the home side will record a victory.

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Deportivo Alaves 1 Real Madrid 2: Ceballos off the mark as champions bounce back

Dani Ceballos scored his first Real Madrid goals on his full debut as the LaLiga champions responded to their shock midweek defeat with a much-needed 2-1 win at Deportivo Alaves.

Madrid’s stuttering start to their domestic title defence continued with a 1-0 reverse against Real Betis at Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, but Zinedine Zidane’s side have so far performed better away from home this term and that again proved to be the case in the Basque Country.

Cristiano Ronaldo started his second game of the week – despite a looming Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund – but Madrid’s hero was Ceballos, who netted the opener and then provided a quick response to Manu Garcia’s 40th-minute equaliser.

That was Alaves’ first goal of the campaign and the second could well have arrived here as they twice hit the woodwork in the second half, contributing to a nervy finish for Zidane’s men.

Ronaldo and his team-mates were similarly profligate at the other end – also twice striking the post – but their failings ultimately mattered little as Madrid moved back to within four points of rivals and league leaders Barcelona, who play at Girona later on Saturday.

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Real Madrid 3 APOEL 0: Returning Ronaldo at the double as champions cruise

Cristiano Ronaldo put his domestic frustration behind him by scoring a brace on his Real Madrid return as Los Blancos began their quest for a third straight Champions League title with a routine 3-0 win over APOEL.

The Portugal superstar is still serving the remainder of a five-match ban in Spain for pushing the referee in the Supercopa de Espana, but Ronaldo made up for lost time by once again proving the difference at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Zinedine Zidane’s side, without Karim Benzema due to a thigh injury, have been held to a pair of draws in their two LaLiga fixtures at home this season, but Ronaldo ensured there was little chance of a repeat against the Cypriot outfit.

The Champions League’s all-time leading goalscorer netted the first in the 12th minute and put the result beyond doubt with a second-half penalty, his 107th goal in the competition.

Sergio Ramos’ exquisite bicycle kick capped an untroubled victory and eased any lingering tension from the league stalemates.

With the 4-1 thrashing of Juventus in last season’s final still fresh in the memory, Madrid undoubtedly remain the team to beat in a strong Group H.

Ronaldo wasted little time in getting back on the scoresheet, announcing his return with the opener inside 12 minutes.

Spain star Isco led a quick counter-attack down the left and linked up with Gareth Bale, who supplied a superb low cross for Ronaldo to clinically fire home at the far post.

Wales winger Bale looked for a repeat assist shortly after, but Ronaldo this time headed the aerial delivery around the post from a narrow angle.

It was not all good news for Zidane early, though, as Mateo Kovacic was forced off with a leg complaint after 25 minutes, the Croatian replaced by Toni Kroos in midfield.

The hosts continued to monopolise possession throughout the half without managing to pile the pressure on APOEL, who set up camp on the edge of the area and were content to have conceded just a single shot on target by the interval.

Ronaldo looked destined to double his tally within seconds of the restart only to see his volley from Dani Carvajal’s cross come back off the woodwork, with suggestions that the ball crossed the line waved away by the referee.

He only had to wait a matter of moments to instead make it 2-0 from the penalty spot, firing low to Boy Waterman’s right after APOEL defender Roberto Lago was punished for a handball in the area.

The Portugal captain was soon denied claims for a second penalty as Zidane’s side looked to put the contest to bed as quickly as possible.

Ramos ensured they did just that in eye-catching fashion just after the hour, drifting forward and producing an athletic bicycle kick from Bale’s deflected header across goal.

APOEL goalkeeper Waterman did his best to keep the deficit down by denying Ronaldo a second at close-range, but by that stage the champions were well and truly on their way to the top of Group H.

Substitute Borja Mayoral looked to have made it 4-0 in the final minute of stoppage time, only for Ronaldo to have been ruled offside for his role in the build-up.

Madrid’s next European assignment is a trip to face Peter Bosz’s Dortmund, while APOEL will host Tottenham in Nicosia.

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Real Madrid Team News: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Levante

Real Madrid return to action in La Liga after the international break with a match at home against promoted Levante in the Primera Division.

Zinedine Zidane’s side kicked off the defence of their title with a 3-0 win at Deportivo La Coruna last month, but could only draw 2-2 at home to Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu in their second fixture.

Tipp: Madrid to win 

Following the recent international break, Los Blancos now face another Valencia-based club at home on Saturday and here, Goal takes a look at everything you need to know ahead of that fixture…

REAL MADRID INJURIES

Central defender Jesus Vallejo is back in training ahead of the game against Levante after missing the 2-2 draw with Valencia through injury. The 20-year-old, yet to appear after making his return to the club in the summer, has been sidelined with a thigh problem, but is now fit and available.

Raphael Varane, however, still does not look ready to come back after picking up an injury at Deportivo on the opening weekend.

Dani Ceballos suffered a neck injury on international duty with Spain’s Under-21 side and could be a doubt on Saturday, even though the problem was less serious than it looked and was diagnosed only as a sprain after the midfielder was rushed to hospital in Toledo for treatment.

Keylor Navas and Casemiro are both doubtful after missing training on Thursday.

REAL MADRID SUSPENSIONS

Cristiano Ronaldo is still suspended after earning a five-match ban for his red card and subsequent push on the referee in the Spanish Supercopa against Barcelona last month.

With the forward having sat out the second leg of that series and the Liga games against Deportivo and Valencia, the Levante match will be the penultimate fixture in his suspension.

Meanwhile, Sergio Ramos is back from a ban after his red card at Riazor saw him miss the draw versus Valencia.

REAL MADRID POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP

With several players doubtful for the game against Levante and a Champions League clash versus APOEL ahead on Wednesday night, there are likely to be changes to the Real Madrid XI.

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas is in a race to be fit, but is unlikely to be risked against his former club as Kiko Casilla looks set to deputise for the Costa Rican.

Sergio Ramos returns in defence, but Varane is expected to miss out and Theo Hernandez should make his Madrid debut at left-back as Marcelo is rested.

In midfield, Casemiro is a doubt, so Mateo Kovacic should start. And further forward, Ronaldo remains suspended, meaning Zidane must choose two from Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale, Isco and Lucas Vazquez to start alongside striker Karim Benzema.

LEVANTE TEAM NEWS

Levante have made a strong start back in La Liga and sit level with Real Madrid with four points from their first two matches, having beaten Villarreal 1-0 at home and drawn 2-2 with Deportivo, also at the Ciutat de Valencia.

Ahead of the trip to the Santiago Bernabeu, the club’s first away game this term, club president Quico Catalan said: “Let’s hope all of the players give everything, but the difference between the two teams is abysmal.”

Winger Jose Luis Morales is suspended, while Macedonian international Enis Bardhi will face a fitness test after returning from international duty on Thursday and Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Doukoure was due back later on the same day after featuring for his nation in World Cup qualifying this week.

BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS

Real Madrid have only lost once in their 11 games in La Liga against Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu; in February 2007, 0-1 thanks to a Salva Ballesta goal.

Levante have not scored in their last three La Liga visits to the Santiago Bernabeu – their last goal there was scored by Michel in April 2013.

Real Madrid have scored in their last 70 games in all competitions, the longest scoring streak ever in the top five European leagues.

Karim Benzema has had the most shots of any La Liga player without scoring this season (eight, including blocked efforts).

Keylor Navas had a better save percentage for Levante (80.24%) than he does for Real Madrid (74.9%).

(Ben Hayward)

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Deportivo La Coruna 0 Real Madrid 3: Bale nets as champions make confident start

Gareth Bale netted and Sergio Ramos saw red as Real Madrid swept to a confident 3-0 away victory over Deportivo La Coruna to open their LaLiga title defence.

Zinedine Zidane called for big year from Bale ahead of the match and the Wales international responded by scoring Madrid’s opening league goal of the season for a third consecutive campaign.

Casemiro, in with Bale as two of four changes from the Supercopa de Espana second-leg victory over Barcelona, added to his UEFA Super Cup goal against Manchester United by capping a brilliant Madrid passing move to double the visitors’ lead.

Ramos was fortunate not to be sent off for putting his hand to the face of Depor defender Fabian Schar after the break, but the captain was perhaps unlucky to receive a second yellow card in stoppage time.

Toni Kroos’ deflected strike had already sealed an impressive victory, which came without suspended star Cristiano Ronaldo and was capped by Florin Andone’s late penalty miss, ensuring Madrid went straight to the top of the table after title rivals Barca defeated Real Betis 2-0 at home earlier on Sunday.

Madrid have now won 13 of their last 14 league games against Depor as they bid to win back-to-back LaLiga titles for the first time since 2008.

Andone, linked with a Deportivo exit, failed to convert two excellent early chances. The striker created the first himself, battling past Dani Carvajal, who claimed for a foul, and forcing Keylor Navas into a good diving save from a tight angle.

Andone then missed an even better opportunity, racing through on goal in oceans of space after Juanfran’s througball, but failing to beat Navas as the Madrid goalkeeper again got down to deny him.

Those squandered chances proved costly when Madrid moved ahead in the 20th minute. Luka Modric’s shot from 20 yards was poorly dealt with by Depor goalkeeper Ruben Martinez, with Karim Benzema’s touch on the rebound allowing Bale to slam in the simplest of finishes from two yards.

Seven minutes later, Madrid doubled their lead with another close-range finish, but this time it capped a magnificent move that saw Madrid complete 44 passes before Casemiro tapped in after Marcelo worked space against Juanfran and delivered a threatening low cross.

Ramos had a lucky escape early in the second half when he was only shown a yellow card for raising his hand to the face of Schar, who was also booked, as the pair argued over whether Madrid should have kicked the ball out of play while Zakaria Bakkali was down injured.

Depor’s frustration grew when the Madrid captain then made a crucial goal-line clearance to keep out Andone’s impressive header from Bruno Gama’s cross.

And the visitors ended the game as a contest after 62 minutes, another swift passing sequence resulting in Bale setting up Kroos to fire in from 18 yards, with the aid of a deflection off Schar.

The hosts almost got one back when Guilherme turned in the box and fired a powerful effort against the crossbar.

Depor had an even better chance to end the match with a goal after being awarded an 89th-minute spot-kick when Carvajal took out Gama from behind, but Andone produced a dreadful effort that looked to be drifting off target before Navas got a faint touch to make sure he claimed a clean sheet.

But there was some frustration for Zidane, with Ramos, who had been fortunate earlier, dismissed in the second minute of added time after catching substitute Borja Valle with an arm in an aerial duel.

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Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: 2017 Spanish Super Cup

The advent of the new season in Spain commences as La Liga champions Real Madrid play Copa del Rey holders Barcelona in the 2017 Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.

The first leg is at the Camp Nou, with the second leg staged at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium three days later.

Barca have suffered a difficult period in recent months, losing former manager Luis Enrique and seeing Neymar exit the club to Paris Saint-Germain.

In contrast, Los Blancos are stronger than ever, capturing the double after prevailing in the UEFA Champions League.

Here is how you can watch the first encounter in Catalonia:

Date: Sunday, Aug. 13

Time: 9 p.m. BST/ 4 p.m ET

Preview

Football fans are treated to an early edition of El Clasico, as Real face bitter adversaries Barca on their travels.

The Spanish champions have already captured their first silverware of the new campaign after defeating Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup in Macedonia.

Real won 2-1 but faded in the second half as the Red Devils fought their way back into the match.

Barca are in transition after losing Enrique and Neymar, and the pressure will be turned up on new boss Ernesto Valverde.

The 53-year-old has plenty of experience in La Liga, having managed Espanyol, Villarreal, Valencia and Athletic Bilbao, but the pressure cooker of the Camp Nou will be an altogether new challenge.

According to Anthony Chapman of The Sun, Real will be without midfield stalwart Luka Modric, who will be missing due to suspension, but Cristiano Ronaldo is ready to start after only being used as a late substitute against United.

Real appeared to brush the cobwebs of pre-season off themselves as they defeated the Premier League giants, always menacing in attack as they calved through midfield.

It will be interesting to see how Barca line up under their new manager, but home supporters will be sad to see the end of the MSN trio, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez forced to adapt to a new system.

Real were sensational under coach Zinedine Zidane last term, scoring 106 goals in La Liga as they beat Barca to the Spanish championship by three points.

The Catalans scored 10 goals more than Madrid, but the removal of Neymar will see the first-leg hosts reduced in potency.

Ronaldo has appeared refreshed during the final part of pre-season, and he will once again hold the keys to success for his team.

The Portuguese superstar hit 37 goals and provided 11 assists in La Liga and Europe last season, per WhoScored.com.

Barca will need time to settle under Valverde, and Blaugrana fans will need to be patient in the earliest days managed by their former player.

Real have menace about their play, and with Gareth Bale back to fitness, it could be a difficult opening leg for the Copa holders.

Predicted Score: 2-1 to Real

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Zidane wants ‘no changes’ to Real Madrid squad

Speculation has emerged again this week concerning the future of Gareth Bale, who is reportedly a target for Manchester United.

Rumours in Spain and England have suggested that United could make a move to bring Bale back to the Premier League, with Madrid prepared to sell in order to fund a world-record bid of €180 million for Monaco star Kylian Mbappe.

Zidane has admitted he cannot guarantee the futures of anyone in the Madrid squad, but he does not want anyone else to follow the likes of Alvaro Morata, James Rodriguez, Danilo and Pepe in leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

“I’m relaxed and I’m delighted with the squad. We have the best, we won and we want to do the same again,” he told a media conference.

“The squad is very good and I don’t want changes. It’s only Cristiano [Ronaldo] who isn’t with us [on pre-season] but we know that it’s going to be a difficult year. Everyone will want to win and that’s more beautiful for us.”

Ronaldo has been on an extended break since Portugal’s FIFA Confederations Cup campaign and the 32-year-old will miss Sunday’s International Champions Cup clash with Barcelona in Miami.

“It doesn’t bother me that Cristiano isn’t here for tomorrow,” Zidane said. “He has to make the most of his holiday. The rest are ready.”

Much of the pre-game talk has centered on the future of Barca star Neymar, who continues to be linked with a stunning €222m move to Paris Saint-Germain.

The Brazil international was also involved in a bust-up with team-mate Nelson Semedo on Friday, prompting him to storm out of training.

Zidane, however, is not interested in the rumours and instead wants his players to show signs of improvement following the 4-1 defeat to Manchester City.

“We don’t look outside much. He’s a very good player and our opponents don’t need to be told that,” he said of Neymar.

“They’ve always been the biggest rivals for Madrid. It will be a great game. What interests us is playing the game well. We’re annoyed about the City result and we want to do better.

“We’ll try to be completely focused. Football is about details. If we play as we did the other day, we’ll be very happy, but not with the result.

“We lost the ball and we’re usually very focused in this regard. But it doesn’t matter, we have to do just a bit of work and try to make sure these things don’t happen.”