Friday, April 26, 2019

Bale and Benzema back for Madrid as Lopetegui rings changes

SoccerNews in La Liga 23 Oct 2018

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Under-fire Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui has recalled Karim Benzema as he searches for a much-needed win against Viktoria Plzen.

Lopetegui was reportedly on the brink of the sack after the 2-1 defeat at home to Levante on Saturday but he was in a defiant mood ahead of a return to Champions League duty on Tuesday, insisting he had heard nothing to worry him.

And the former Spain coach has responded by making changes, including Benzema, who was on the bench on Saturday after a poor start to the season.

The French striker’s return is one of several alterations to the side, as Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale also come in, with Raphael Varane among those to drop out following the shock result against Levante.

Benzema looks set to be partnered by Bale up front, while Isco replaces Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez appears set to line up at right-back.

Despite the pressure on Lopetegui to deliver a result against Plzen, with Barcelona up next in El Clasico on Sunday, he has again selected Champions League goalkeeper Keylor Navas ahead of Thibaut Courtois.

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