The growing likelihood of Real Madrid signing Kylian Mbappé this summer has dominated the headlines this week, but the focus now turns to the club’s current players as they look to extend their lead over second-placed Girona in La Liga.
Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Atlético Madrid and their lead is now down to just two points, setting the stage for one of the most anticipated matches of the weekend.
Aurélien Tchouaméni and Eduardo Camavinga are back in form, while Antonio Rüdiger and Nacho are doubts, as Madrid continue to battle defensive injuries in their bid to retain the title. Unbeaten in the league at home since Villarreal won in April last year (13W, 3D), “Los Blancos” would be in a strong position if they could get a win over their only potential title rivals.
Girona are unbeaten in the league since a 3-0 defeat in the reverse fixture in September (11W, 4D), and their battle with Madrid – against whom they have an even head-to-head record in the league (3W, 1D, 3L) – has been one of the stories of the season. But is the pressure starting to tell? Last weekend, they were held to a goalless draw by Real Sociedad and manager Míchel was sent off for protesting a disallowed goal.
Yet “Los Blanquivermells” have already beaten Barcelona and Atlético this season – the former away from home – but a win at the Bernabéu would be the biggest statement yet, and not just because it would put them top of the table. They have only won one of their last four home clashes against Madrid (1D, 2L), and those defeats have seen them concede an average of five goals per game!
Players to watch: Brahim Díaz could be called upon again if Vinícius Júnior is unavailable, especially after scoring the opener against Atlético, his fifth of his seven goals this season coming at the Bernabéu. After also scoring against Atlético, three of Sávio’s last four goals for Girona have been the third of the game.
Hot stat: Girona have scored 13 goals between the 31st and 45th minute, the most in La Liga.