After a disappointing La Liga campaign, Real Madrid will be looking to the Champions League to save their season.
But Bayern Munich stand in their way on Wednesday and a clash against the German champions will be by no means an easy game for Madrid.
Bayern have already wrapped up the Bundesliga title this season meaning manager Jupp Heynckes has had the chance to rest his star players in preparation for the midweek fixture. Real Madrid also come into this game with fresh legs though, having not played at the weekend.
The two teams boast some of the world’s best footballing talent, and with everyone fully prepared for the fixture it promises to be an exciting encounter. With that being said, here is a hypothetical starting XI if those talents decided to join forces and play for one team.
1. GK: Sven Ulreich (Bayern Munich)
Had this game come a month later I may be putting Manuel Neuer in the goalkeeper slot, but the German keeper has only recently recovered from injury and is unlikely to feature in the game ahead of Sven Ulreich who has been Bayern’s number one for most of the season.
Keylor Navas could easily have been selected in goal but Ulreich has deputised well in Neuer’s absence and boasts double the clean sheets of Navas in the league. The Bayern Munich keeper hasn’t conceded in 12 Bundesliga games, whereas Navas has only managed six clean sheets for Madrid in La Liga.
2. RB: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
Kimmich faced a hard task to replace the retired Philipp Lahm this season, but the 23 year old has stepped up to the challenge. Kimmich has registered ten assists from full-back this season in just 26 appearances, and has even bagged a couple of goals in the Champions league.
Daniel Carvajal has stood out for Madrid this season but his attacking statistics are nowhere near as impressive as Kimmich’s and the Spaniard tends to suffer from ill-discipline, having picked up 15 yellow cards this season.
3. LB: Marcelo (Real Madrid)
David Alaba and Marcelo are arguably the two best left-backs in the world, so to choose one or the other is tough.
But Marcelo has to go in the combined XI by default. Alaba has struggled over the past week with a thigh injury and is a doubt for Wednesday’s tie.
Marcelo, however, is a perfectly good replacement. The Brazilian was instrumental in Real Madrid’s Champions League winning campaign last season and given license to go forward can be deadly in the final third.
4. CB: Jerome Boateng
Boateng has been a mainstay in Bayern Munich’s defence since 2011 and that does not look to change anytime soon.
He has been central Bayern and Germany’s success over recent years, helping the German club to six Bundesliga titles and his international team to a World Cup win in 2014.
The former Manchester City man boasts strength and pace in abundance, making him one of the worlds best in his position.
5. CB: Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos is the perfect defensive leader.
No defender has been as influential in world football than the Madrid man in recent years. His influence on this Madrid team has been made abundantly clear in his recent absence, especially in Madrid’s 3-1 loss to Juventus in the last round of the Champions League.
Ramos’ passion, fearlessness and occasional recklessness is all part of the Madrid skipper’s charm and what has made him such a defensive icon.
6. CM: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
Toni Kroos has to go in this team.
The former Bayern Munich man is absolutely vital in any success that Madrid have. His lack of pace is offset by his unrivalled ability to read the game, and his phenomenal passing range which has seen him rack up seven assists this season.
7. CM: Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)
Partnering Kroos is Thiago Alcantara.
Thiago has been touted as the next Xavi for good reason. Just like Xavi, Thiago has a fantastic eye for as pass and is superb with the ball at his feet.
But the 26 year old Bayern Munich man is not just a carbon copy of the Barcelona legend, and has elements of his game that even Xavi did not hold. Besides from his passing capabilities, Thiago’s defensive contribution is strong and he has shown prowess in front of goal this season.
The Spaniard has scored 7 in all competitions this season, despite having missed a big chunk of the season through injury.
8. CM: Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Luka Modric rounds off the midfield three, ahead of the likes of James Rodriguez, Javi Martínez and Casemiro.
The Croatian is a more well-rounded player than his competitors for the midfield position. He can defend, as well as attack at an impressive level, but the influence Modric can have on a game makes him an easy addition to this team.
9. CAM: Isco (Real Madrid)
Another tough position to pick, the centre attacking midfield role has options such as Müller, Marco Asensio and even James Rodriguez who can also play higher up the pitch.
But Isco’s season for Madrid makes him the obvious choice. Isco has scored six and registered six assists in La Liga this season, despite not holding a consistent position in the Madrid lineup.
His fast feet and ability to hold up the ball make him one of the most promising players in the Madrid squad.
10. ST: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
There is really much more that needs to be said. Ronaldo started Madrid’s league campaign poorly but has since picked up 24 goals in the league and 15 in the Champions League, scoring in every single game of the competition.
Ronaldo has found a new role as a central striker in his latter years, but the position change hasn’t made him any less potent in front of goal.
11. ST: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Whether Lewandowski will still be at Bayern Munich come this time next year or indeed at the club who Bayern face on Wednesday is unknown.
What we do know however, is that the Polish striker cannot stop scoring. He has scored 28 in 28 appearances in the Bundesliga this season making him a sure addition to this squad.