Real Madrid may be the reigning European champions, but they simply cannot find a way past their city rivals Atletico Madrid, who famously beat them and Barcelona to last season’s La Liga title.
The two clubs have already met a staggering five times this season (twice in the Copa del Rey, twice in the Spanish Super Cup and once in the league) yet Real are yet to come out on top. Of course, they took the bragging rights in last season’s Champions League final, but the matter of fact is that Real have not figured out how to beat Diego Simeone’s side.
Real will have the welcome boost of Cristiano Ronaldo’s return following his two-game suspension for his red card against Cordoba, but they are without both Sergio Ramos and Pepe, meaning that Raphael Varane and youngster Nacho will have to deputise for the foreseeable future.
While Atletico have become renowned for their dogged determination and team-work, it is in attack that Real have been unable to stop them with Atletico scoring in each of the five meetings this term. With the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Mario Mandzukic and Koke all fit and available – and striker Fernando Torres already scoring against Real this season – they certainly have plenty of options when it comes to finding the back of the net.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Real Madrid 2 (Ramos, Ronaldo) Atletico Madrid 2 (Torres 2), Copa del Rey, January 2015.
Atletico Madrid 2 (Garcia, Gimenez) Real Madrid 0, Copa del Rey, January 2015.
Real Madrid 1 (Ronaldo) Atletico Madrid 2 (Tiago, Turan), La Liga, September 2014.
The last time Real Madrid beat Atletico in the league came in April 2013, when Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao were among the scorers.
Real Madrid will remain top of La Liga no matter what the result while a win will see Atletico draw level on points with Barcelona, who play tomorrow.
Diego Simeone has won five of his 14 games against Real, losing six and drawing three.
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