The domestic season in Europe has not started yet, but Real Madrid and Sevilla are set for a mammoth encounter as the two Spanish teams face one another in an intriguing UEFA Super Cup at Lerkendal Stadion on Tuesday. As always, the title match is played between the winners of Champions League (Real Madrid) and Europa League (Sevilla) of last season.
This title clash is going to be their biggest contest before the La Liga season kicks off. Real Madrid have had a good pre-season so far, defeating some huge teams like Chelsea and Bayern Munich, but the Champions League winner will be missing some of their key players, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Garth Bale, Toni Kross and Bale in the Super Cup.
Without these stars, Real Madrid, who have solid depth in their squad, will depend on other players to stand up and be counted against Sevilla. Coach Zinedine Zidane believes anyone can win the UEFA Super Cup, but he would love to have Karim Benzema take a start. His presence is doubtful with back problems. The final call upon his selection will be done ahead of the match.
"We have a cup final with two teams who are both capable of winning; the only thing that I'm concerned about is whether we are ready, and we are. Pre-season was very good. We have had time to prepare ourselves," UEFA's official website quoted Zidane as saying.
"We'll see what happens with Karim Benzema tomorrow, but the important thing is that he's with us. We need to do everything we can; we need to give it our all from the first minute, to work hard, to concentrate. In football you never know what can happen. It's 50-50."
Real Madrid had a splendid season last time around, but they are aware that the upcoming season is going to be a different matter altogether. A victory against Sevilla will help them gain attain confidence ahead of the La Liga season.
Sevilla, who defeated Liverpool to win Europa League, finished seventh in the domestic competition, and have some new faces, including coach Jorge Sampaoli.
The new coach has made some new signings, including Wissam Ben Yedder and Luciano Vietto, who could feature in the Super Cup match. Sampaoli is aware of the tough task that lies ahead though Real Madrid are missing some of their biggest names. He wants his Sevilla players to be determined on the pitch.
"Madrid have played some top-class friendlies already and the fact that they are missing some key players will not in any way diminish their quality. I'd like my team to approach the game with real desire and to honour their badge. I don't like any side to dominate mine on the pitch," Sampaoli said.
Sevilla, under former coach Unai Emery, played some quality football, which importantly produced quality results in Europe. It remains to be seen what strategies Sampaoli will adopt in this massive game. Irrespective of the formation and the players, and who will be picked in the starting eleven, this Super Cup match is expected to be an entertaining affair.
Where to watch Super Cup 2016 live
The Super Cup 2016 match between Real Madrid vs Sevilla is set to begin at 8.45 p.m. CET (7.45 p.m. BST, 2.45 p.m. ET, 12.15 a.m. IST). Here is the live streaming and TV information.
India: TV: Ten 1. Live Streaming: Tensports Live.
Spain: TV: Antena 3, Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
UK and Ireland: TV: BT Sport 2 . Live Streaming: Watch BT Sport.
USA: TV: Fox Sports 1 Live Stream: FoxSoccer2Go.
Canada: TV: TSN 5 and Bein Sports and RDS . Live Streaming: TSN TV.
China: TV: LeTV, PPTV Sports.
Singapore: TV: Eurosport Asia
Malaysia: Astro SuperSport 2. Live Streaming: Astro Go.
France, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, the Middle East and North Africa: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.