Real Madrid have been pretty decent in preseason, with Rafa Benitez slowly getting his players up to speed ahead of the new season. However, come the Audi Cup 2015, Real Madrid will have to make do without two of their key players – Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema – with the Spanish club opening up the preseason tournament against Premier League side Tottenham at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.
Bayern Munich and AC Milan are the other two clubs in the Audi Cup, with Real Madrid looking for another preseason trophy having won the International Champions Cup twice – in Australia and China.
"My first impressions are excellent, I have a great team with fine players," Benitez said. "You can see how they train, they're very competitive. I'm delighted, from the very first moment we've seen the desire the players have to win things."
Real Madrid scored bags of goals in two of their four preseason games in the International Champions Cup, but in two of them, they failed to find the net. Benitez will hope for a more free-flowing goal-spree match against Spurs, even without Ronaldo and Benzema, who were left behind in Madrid owing to minor injuries, in the lineup.
"I hope to be in the final," Benitez added. "It would be great to make the final. We have players with a lot of quality. Every game is important. We have a great squad and we analyse every game. We have two important matches against very good teams here and both are important for our players."
With Ronaldo missing, Benitez expects Bale, playing against his former club, to pick up the mantle. "Bale will play, he's a huge player for us," the Spaniard added. "I won't talk about offers.
"He wants to play well, he's happy, we practised certain moves today. Everything looks good and he's going to have an excellent season with us."
While Real Madrid still have over two weeks before the start of their La Liga season, Tottenham only have a few days, with Mauricio Pochettino's men kicking the Premier League off with a match against Manchester United on Saturday.
Therefore, this Audi Cup 2015 will be a lot more important to Spurs than Real Madrid, in terms of preparation for the new season.
"We expect a very tough game against Real Madrid because they are one of the best teams in the world," Pochettino said. "It's a good opportunity for us to show our quality.
"The games will be very competitive and that's important for us because we start the season with a tough game at Old Trafford. We want to be fully fit and ready for the first game in the Premier League.
"We know it's an important season ahead. We want to do better."
Squads: Real Madrid: Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Kiko Casilla, Ruben Yanez.
Defenders: Raphael Varane, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo, Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Arbeloa, Danilo.
Midfielders: Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez, Casemiro, Luka Modric, Denis Cheryshev, Isco, Asier Illarramendi, Marco Asensio, Martin Odegaard.
Forwards: Gareth Bale, Jese, Lucas Vazquez, Borja Mayoral.
Tottenham: Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Michel Vorm, Luke McGee.
Defenders: Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Ben Davies, Eric Dier, Federico Fazio, Toby Alderweireld, Kevin Wimmer, Jan Vertonghen.
Midfielders: Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, Harry Winks, Dele Alli, Mousa Dembele, Tom Carroll, Josh Onomah, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli.
Forwards: Harry Kane.
Where to Watch Live
Real Madrid vs Tottenham Hotspur is scheduled for a 6.15 pm local time (9.45 pm IST, 5.15 pm BST, 12.15 pm ET) start with no live coverage in India.
Viewers in Germany can watch the match live on ZDFinfo. Audience in Spain will be able to watch Real Madrid in action on Bein Sports, with the live streaming option on Bein Sports Connect.
UK viewers can watch Spurs vs Real Madrid live on Premier Sports, while the match can also be live streamed on Premier Player.
Audience in the US can catch all the Audi Cup 2015 action on ESPN 2, with the live stream option on Watch ESPN.