Fresh off winning the UEFA Super Cup, Real Madrid will begin their La Liga title defense on Sunday when Los Blancos visit Almeria on Matchday 1. After cruising to the league title last season, they figure to have more competition this season via a revamped Barcelona, but the reigning Champions League winners will be confident in starting their campaign off with a bang against the newly promoted side.
Here’s our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
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How to watch and odds
Date: Sunday, Aug. 14 | Time: 4 p.m.ET
Location: Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos — Almeria, Spain
Live stream: ESPN+
Odds: Almeria +625; Draw +370; Real Madrid -235 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Almeria: During promotion last season, Almeria put together a 24-9-9 record, and their defense was key. They allowed a league-low 35 goals in 42 games. Now, facing the likes of Burgos, Huesca and Mirandes is much different than Real, but they will be confident in front of their home crowd. They’ll try to make it ugly, break up play with fouls and delay tactics and basically weather the storm. If they can keep it close in the second half, the belief will grow that they can indeed get something from this.
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Real: Carlo Ancelotti has almost his full squad available for this match with no key omissions other than that of Rodrigo. The Brazilian misses out due to a muscle injury picked up in training on Saturday, per AS. Ancelotti said ahead of the match that the team feels good about their chances of defending their title, and it feels likely considering what they are bringing back, while adding an established defender like Antonio Rudiger. As usual, this team’s play on the wings will be critical with Vinicius Jr. looking to take that step into superstardom.
Karim Benzema scores and sets up another as Real start the season off with three points. Pick: Real Madrid 2, Almeria 0