MUNICH, Sporting Alert – The 2015 International Audi Cup will see Real Madrid, Tottenham, Bayern Munich and AC Milan battling for the preseason crown.
Action on Tuesday will begin with Spanish giants Real Madrid taking on English Premier League outfits Tottenham at 12:15 pm ET, while German champions Bayern Munich and Serie A giants AC Milan do battle at 2:45 pm ET. Following Live Scores and Updates | Live Streaming on Watch ESPN, TV channel, ESPN 2.
Madrid head into the clash with Spurs without leading attackers Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, with the club reporting that both players were deemed unfit to travel and were left out of the squad for the tournament at the Allianz Arena.
“Cristiano and Benzema aren’t here, they had some problems this morning and we prefer not to risk them because our players’ health is the most important thing,” said Real boss Rafa Benitez.
It is understood that Ronaldo wasn’t selected because Benitez felt he needed to work on his fitness, after the Portugal forward went through a light training session on his return from agent Jorge Mendes wedding.
At the same time, Benzema, the club reported, is carrying a muscular injury on his right thigh and isn’t fit to play.
“Following tests carried out on Karim Benzema by the Real Madrid Medical Services at the Sanitas La Moraleja Hospital today, he has been diagnosed with a muscular injury in his right thigh,” a statement on www.realmadrid.com read.
With Benzema and Ronaldo missing, it opens the door for former Tottenham forward Gareth Bale to lead the attack, with Benitez contemplating about giving the Wales international a central attacking role.
“Bale will play, he’s a huge player for us,” Benitez confirmed. “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.”
Tottenham, in the meantime, will be using the tournament as its final preparations ahead of the Premier League opener against Manchester United on Saturday.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino is set to name the lineup he would like to use against United this weekend, although goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is a major doubt because of a wrist injury.
However, the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane are all expected to feature.
The second game of the tournament will see Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich facing a new look AC Milan side who are confident about challenging Juventus for the Serie A crown this season.
Bayern comes into this fixture on the back of a shootout defeat to Wolfsburg in the German Super Cup and manager Pep Guardiola is hoping his side will quickly bounce back from the defeat.
It is still uncertain about how Guardiola will lineup his team on Tuesday, but it is understood World Cup winner and the reported wantaway German Mario Gotze, will get his chance to play.
AC Milan head into this competition on the back of a productive International Champions Cup earlier this summer, where they defeated Inter Milan and only fell against Real Madrid in the second game on penalties.
Live stream of the 2015 International Audi Cup is on Watch ESPN, while ESPN 2 will broadcast the preseason tournament live in the USA. UK viewers can watch the games live on Premier Sports.