With high stakes this weekend in the Spanish capital, Real Madrid entertain Sevilla at the Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon, in a potentially pivotal La Liga clash at the top of the table.
Real Madrid vs Sevilla – Santiago Bernabeu – Saturday 19th January – Kick off 3.15pm UK time
Los Blancos will seek to win only their second game in their last four at home this weekend, as Santiago Solari’s men return home after a narrow 2-1 win in Andalusia against Real Betis last Sunday night.
Whilst away from home in La Liga the hosts continue their impressive form, on their own patch in recent weeks, Madrid have come unstuck with a shock defeat to CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League.
Then a fortnight ago, a Real Sociedad side who have not win at the Bernabeu since 2003, notched a stunning 2-0 win as Lucas Vazquez saw red.
For Sevilla, the efforts of Pablo Machin’s men to top the standings before Christmas have rather faded away for the time being, having lost two games on the bounce.
After a comprehensive 2-0 defeat in Bilbao last time out, Los Rojiblancos then edged their way into the Copa del Rey quarter-final 3-2 on aggregate, but only after Los Leones inflicted another defeat in the two sides’ three-legged league and cup triple.
With the visitors having not scored in their last two outings after a prolific run of goals to end 2018, a trip to Madrid may not do much to ease the woes of Machin’s men.
Having said that however, with the form of Los Blancos of late, Sevilla will fancy their chances of hitting their opponents on the break with the high-press of their midfield and pace of the likes of Wissam Ben Yedder.
When the two met earlier this term, the visiting Andalusians dominated an out-of-sort Madrid 3-0 at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. This weekend then presents the chance for redemption for the hosts.
Solari’s men are again without a number of key first-team players this weekend. Winger Marco Asensio remains absent with a muscle injury, whilst midfielder Marcos Llorente will also miss out with a similar problem.
Madrid are also sweating on the fitness of Toni Kroos and Thibaut Courtois with the same hamstring and hip injuries that saw the pair miss the trip to Betis last weekend.
Karim Benzema should play despite a fractured finger, however Gareth Bale is expected to miss out, but is now close to return after a calf injury.
For the visitors, Nolito has been ruled out until April with a fractured tibia, whilst midfielder Roque Mesa is suspended.
Sevilla’s only other injury of note is Maxime Gonalons, who remains on the sidelines for another month with after an ACL ankle injury.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Ceballos; Vazquez, Benzema, Vinicius
Sevilla (3-5-2): Vaclik; Gomez, Kjaer, Carrico; Navas, Sarabia, Banega, Gnagnon, Escudero; Ben Yedder, Silva
Real Madrid 2-2 Sevilla