Real Madrid vs Atlético Madrid Preview: Classic Encounter, Team News, Key Battles and More

Aramide Oladipo
90Min

The Bernabéu will be the venue for one of the biggest Madrid derbies in recent years.

Both sides are flying at the moment and both will be looking for their sixth consecutive victory in the league.

Real Madrid are looking to extend their lead at the top of the table whilst Atlético are hoping to secure a place in the top three and with a win, Simeone’s men might still have an outside chance of the title.


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Classic Encounter (Atlético Madrid 4-0 Real Madrid, February 2015)

Just two years ago, Diego Simeone’s men delivered one of the best performances of his era as the La Liga champions at the time took Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid side to the cleaners at the Calderón.

Real had an injury hit team but the likes of Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo were still on show for the visitors.

Former Chelsea midfielder Tiago opened the scoring as Iker Casillas made a costly error and the hosts soon doubled their lead four minutes later as Saul scored a spectacular scissor kick.


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Antoine Griezmann wrapped up the game in the second half before Mandzukic put the cherry on the cake with a header in the dying minutes of the match.

It turned out to be a horrible season for Real as they would end the season trophyless as Barcelona achieved a historic treble. Despite winning the Champions League the season before, Carlo Ancelotti was sacked at the end of the 2014/15 campaign.


Key Battles


Antoine Griezmann vs Sergio Ramos

This is going to be an interesting battle because Sergio Ramos provides as much as an attacking threat for his side as Griezmann does for Atlético.

The Atlético striker is enjoying yet another fantastic season in the Spanish capital as he has scored a total of 22 goals in all competitions this season. Griezmann has had a mixed history in the Madrid derby because he has scored twice in last four meetings but he did miss a crucial penalty in last year’s Champions League final.


It’s the opposite story for Sergio Ramos as he has broken Atlético hearts twice in both Champions League finals as he scored that dramatic equaliser in 2014 to kickstart the comeback and he also scored the opener in last year’s final in Milan.

The Spanish defender will certainly have to concentrate more on his defending than attacking in this game as Griezmann will be the toughest opponent he has had to face in months.



Benzema vs Godin

It’s not really fair to just single out one Atlético Madrid defender as they work fantastically together as a unit with goalkeeper Oblak.

However, Uruguayan defender Diego Godin is an absolute rock at the back as he is the one that organises the back four and he is one of the reasons why Simeone’s men have the joint best defensive record in La Liga this season.

There has been a lot of debate surrounding Karim Benzema’s involvement in the starting eleven but the French forward has turned on the style in recent weeks as he’s scored two goals in his last two appearances.


Benzema will have to be at his brilliant best to find the breakthrough against Godin and this solid Atlético Madrid defence.


Team News & Predicted Lineups

Zinedine Zidane rested most of his first team regulars for the midweek game against Leganés so there will be no excuses with regards to fatigue going into this Madrid derby.


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The only injury concern for Simeone is the fitness of striker Kevin Gameiro as it doesn’t appear that he’ll be ready to start on the weekend which means Fernando Torres is likely to partner Antoine Griezmann up front.


Real Madrid Predicted XI: Navas, Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo


Atlético Madrid Predictied XI: Oblak, Juanfran, Savic, Godin, Filipe, Carrasco, Gabi, Saul, Koke, Griezmann, Torres


Prediction

This has all the makings to be one of the best games of the La Liga season.


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Atlético have come into form at just the right time in the season and although the performances haven’t been outstanding, Real Madrid keep winning and marching towards a first title since 2012.

Real Madrid have the advantage of playing at home and also having more match winners in their squad than Atlético and this should give them the edge on Saturday afternoon.


Prediction: Real Madrid 2-1 Atlético Madrid

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