The only two teams with 100% records at this stage of the La Liga season will lock horns at Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon, with league leaders Real Madrid welcoming second-placed Real Betis. Defending champions Real Madrid were 3-1 winners over Espanyol last time out, while Real Betis also continued their perfect start to the campaign with a 1-0 success over Osasuna on August 26. There has not been a drop-off from Real Madrid at the start of the 2022-23 campaign, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side lifting the UEFA Super Cup on August 10 by beating Eintracht Frankfurt before winning their opening three matches of the new La Liga season against Almeria, Celta Vigo and Espanyol. It has been business as usual for the reigning Spanish and European champions, recording a 2-1 victory over Almeria on the opening weekend of the new campaign before putting four past Celta one week later.
Los Blancos will enter this match off the back of a 3-1 victory over Espanyol, although it was 1-1 until the 88th minute of that contest, with Karim Benzema netting a late double for the capital outfit, who are already top of the division, boasting nine points from an available nine at this stage. Ancelotti’s side will begin their Champions League campaign away to Scottish giants Celtic next week, and like all the other clubs involved in European football, it will be an incredibly busy few months for the Whites due to the season halting in November for the 2022 World Cup. Real Madrid have actually not beaten Real Betis at Bernabeu since March 2017, with each of the last three games in the capital finishing goalless, and the champions could be in line for another tough examination this weekend by their talented opponents. Real Betis’ Borja Iglesias celebrates scoring their first goal with Marc Bartra.
Real Betis also have a recent Bernabeu win to their name, triumphing 2-0 in May 2019, and they will be looking to continue their 100% start to the campaign at the expense of Ancelotti’s side. The Green and Whites opened their season with a 3-0 success over Elche before recording a 2-1 victory over Mallorca in their second match of the campaign five days later. Real Betis found Osasuna to be tricky opposition in Seville last time out, but Borja Iglesias’s first-half effort proved to be enough to secure another three points, meaning that Manuel Pellegrini’s side will enter this weekend’s contest full of confidence. El Glorioso enjoyed their best finish in La Liga last term since 2004-05, claiming fifth spot, just five points behind fourth-placed Sevilla, with the club set to compete in the Europa League this season. Like Real Madrid, Real Betis will begin their European campaign next week, facing a trip to Helsinki to take on HJK, while they then have three home games in quick succession against Villarreal, Ludogorets and Girona.
Luiz Felipe is likely to replace Pezzella at the back, while there could be an alteration further forward, with Sergio Canales potentially taking the place of Rodri. There are not expected to be any surprises elsewhere, though, with Juanmi and Nabil Fekir again set to operate in support of Iglesias, with William Carvalho and Guido Rodriguez holding the midfield. Real Madrid were missing Nacho, Alvaro Odriozola and Jesus Vallejo against Espanyol last time out due to fitness issues, but the trio could potentially be available for this contest. Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy are expected to come back into the starting side, while Rodrygo is also pushing for a spot on the right of the front three.
Federico Valverde could just be given the nod once again, though, due to his defensive abilities, as Ancelotti will certainly be wary of the threat that Real Betis could provide. Antonio Rudiger and Lucas Vazquez are likely to drop out of the defensive unit, but Toni Kroos and Luka Modric should again be joined by Aurelien Tchouameni in central midfield, with Casemiro leaving the club. As for Real Betis, Martin Montoya and Victor Camarasa remain on the treatment table, while German Pezzella is out due to the red card that he picked up against Osasuna last time out.
Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Kroos, Tchouameni, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius
Real Betis possible starting lineup:
Silva; Ruibal, Felipe, Gonzalez, Moreno; Rodriguez, Carvalho; Canales, Fekir, Juanmi; Iglesias