Real Madrid will seek to win their sixth successive league La Liga game in a row on Sunday, as Girona make the trip to the capital to face Los Blancos.
Real Madrid vs Girona – Santiago Bernabeu – Sunday 17th February – kick off 11am UK time
Since Santiago Solari’s men lost in shock fashion against Real Sociedad at the Bernabeu back in early January, Los Blancos have gone 10 games having lost just once in that period in all competitions.
With Leganes the only side to topple the hosts in what was a largely academic Copa del Rey last 16 second leg tie, the capitalists are on a five-match winning run in La Liga as they look to keep in touch with Barcelona at the top of the table.
Their recent form was underlined last time out, as the Whites came out on top in the Madrid derby last weekend, via goals from Sergio Casemiro, Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale against ten-man Atleti.
After a impressive display against a rising Ajax side in the UEFA Champions League in midweek also, Solari’s men are in a good moment – as is marksman Karim Benzema – as they welcome Gironistes on Sunday lunchtime.
La Liga slide
Eusebio Sacristan’s men have slid down the table at an alarming rate since the turn of the year. That after the Catalan side had begun the campaign in rich form.
Indeed it was only back in November Girona found themselves higher in the standings than their opponents this weekend, eyeing a possible European birth in May.
Now however, the priorities have changed dramatically, with the visitors just a single point from the bottom three and Rayo Vallecano in eighteenth spot.
A story of juxtaposed beginnings to 2019, Sacristan’s men have failed to win a game in over two months and have lost their last four league outings on the bounce – including their humbling defeat at home to Huesca seven days ago.
After hitting double figures in the opening half of the season, Cristhian Stuani’s La Liga goals have dried up in recent weeks and with a trip to a buoyant Madrid, the Uruguayan will need to re-discover his form in front of goal for Girona to stand a chance this weekend.
Los Blancos will be without talisman Luka Modric, with the Croatian suspended for the game. Fellow midfielder Isco is also absent with a back injury.
Marcos Llorente will also miss out with a hamstring problem, whilst third-choice goalkeeper Luka Zidane is also suffering with a similar issue.
With Marco Asensio back to full fitness and having scored in Amsterdam, the Spaniard could come back into Solari’s starting XI plans, with Vinicius Junior set to make way.
On the opposite wing there is a similar story, with Lukas Vazquez having hit form. Gareth Bale however, will likely get the nod to start.
Girona are without Marc Muniesa with a hamstring injury, whilst Bernardo Espinosa is suspended again following his red card against Barcelona a fortnight ago.
Midfield duo Patrick Roberts (thigh muscle strain) and Aday (knee) will also miss the game, whilst forward Seydou Doumbia is a further absentee due to a hamstring problem.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Reguilon; Ceballos, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Asensio
Girona (3-5-2): Bono; Alcala, Ramalho, Pedro Porro; Valery, Pere Pons, Douglas Luiz, B. Garcia, Granell; Portu, Stuani
Real Madrid 3-1