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Julen Lopetegui will take charge of Real Madrid in La Liga for the first time on Sunday as they host Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Lopetegui has stepped in during a summer of transition for Los Blancos, as they not only lost manager Zinedine Zidane but the club’s all-time top goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo, too. It means the new boss has a big job on his hands if he’s to beat Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to the title this season.
Madrid are the big favourites for this fixture and should get off to a winning start. Getafe enjoyed a fine 2017-18 campaign, finishing in eighth position. They are renowned as one of the most organised and aggressive teams in the top flight.
It’ll be a massive occasion for Lopetegui and his players. Here are the odds for the fixture and all the information needed to ensure this one isn’t missed.
Real Madrid (10/67)
Courtesy of OddsShark
Date: Sunday, August 19
Time: 9:15 p.m. (BST), 4:15 p.m. (ET)
TV Info: beIN Sports (U.S.)
Live Stream: beIN Sports Connect (U.S.) 11 Sports (UK)
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Having lost Zidane and Ronaldo, Lopetegui would have been hoping for a big performance from his team on Wednesday in the UEFA Super Cup against city rivals Atletico Madrid. But a 4-2 loss after extra time likely concerned Los Blancos supporters.
While there were still some sparks in Real’s attacking play, they lacked control in midfield with Luka Modric sat on the bench, whereas in defence there was a shortage of authority and intensity.
Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo and Raphael Varane were all involved in the FIFA World Cup knockout rounds, so perhaps it was no surprise to see them a little jaded.
The latter, who was a key part of France’s glorious team, was singled out for criticism by SB Nation’s Lucas Navarrete:
Lucas Navarrete @LucasNavarreteM
Varane with one of the most terrible defensive performances I have ever seen.
Aside from the defeat to Atletico on Wednesday, there have been some positive signs from Madrid despite the number of significant changes at the club.
In the past, fluctuations in form and injuries have prevented Bale from becoming one of the best players in the world, despite his penchant for producing in the big fixtures.
All the indications are he is set for a huge campaign:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Gareth Bale’s last nine appearances for Real Madrid:
⚽️ vs. Barcelona
⚽️⚽️ vs. Celta Vigo
⚽️ vs. Villarreal
⚽️⚽️ vs. Liverpool
❌ vs. Man Utd (friendly)
⚽️ vs. Juventus (friendly)
⚽️🅰️ vs. Roma (friendly)
⚽️ vs. AC Milan (friendly)
🅰️ vs. Atlético https://t.co/HEayJT90dQ
Lopetegui also has some decisions to make in terms of personnel, especially after the club finally completed the signing of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea.
Keylor Navas has long been the starter between the sticks for Madrid, although he arguably could have done better with Diego Costa’s opening goal on Wednesday.
ESPN FC’s Dermot Corrigan doesn’t think it’ll be long until Courtois is drafted in:
Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan
Navas wasn’t Madrid’s biggest problem tonight – but four goals conceded from five shots on target not a good start for him with Courtois ready to step in.
While there’s a clear chasm in quality between these two outfits, there’s no doubt Getafe have it in them to make this a tough afternoon for Madrid. Jose Bordalas’ side never make things easy for their opponents, and while they are aggressive in their play, they can occasionally overstep the mark with their physicality.
The European champions may have to be patient as a result, with Getafe likely to sit deep and frustrate. In the end, Los Blancos will be able to find a way through, and Lopetegui should enjoy a straightforward start to domestic life in the Madrid hot seat.
Prediction: Real Madrid 2-0 Getafe