Real Madrid won 2-0 against Getafe to reclaim top spot in La Liga on Thursday, but not without complications: Antonio Rüdiger became the latest defender to join the injury list. Coach Carlo Ancelotti is hopeful that the German will be available for the third Madrid derby of the calendar year (1 win, 1 draw), but he will be without Aurélien Tchouaméni, who is suspended.
“Los Blancos” have coped well with the absence of key players throughout the campaign and now have the chance to put a dent in Atleti’s slim title hopes if they can win the 236th Madrid derby (116 wins, 60 draws, 59 defeats). In addition to a 10-point lead over their city rivals, Madrid are on a nine-match unbeaten run at home (5 wins, 4 draws) and have not lost at home all season, giving fans reasons to be optimistic ahead of one of Europe’s biggest city rivalries.
Since losing 5-3 after extra time in the Supercopa semi-final, Atlético Madrid have won five consecutive matches, including an immediate 4-2 extra-time revenge in the Copa del Rey (CDR). Manager Diego Simeone was able to rotate his squad in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Rayo Vallecano and that rest could help him earn his first victory at the Bernabéu since February 2016.
Having ended a four-game losing streak away in the league by beating Granada 1-0 late last month, “Los Colchoneros” will be hoping they have rediscovered their away form, but that is as big a challenge as it is a theory to test. So it is positive that they can recall striker Álvaro Morata, who is reportedly fit again after missing out in midweek with a minor injury.
Key Players to Watch: Madrid forward Joselu scored a brace against Getafe, having also scored against Atlético in the CDR – eight of his last nine club goals have been scored after the 50th minute. Alvaro Morata has already scored three goals in this fixture this season, all of them before the 60th minute.
Hot Stat: Three of the last four head-to-head clashes have ended in 1-1 draws after the second half.
Prediction: Real Madrid 2-1 Atlético Madrid