Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
13 Seeptember, 2014; 18:00 GMT
The Santiago Bernabeu awaits the first derby of the season as defending champions Atletico Madrid gear up to face Real Madrid in the 3rd gameweek of La Liga.
Long-time rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are set to meet for the 7th time this year as both teams are braced to face each other for the first time this season. Both the clubs have had a positive start to the season with Real Madrid having won the European SuperCup while Atletico Madrid have won the Spanish SuperCup. La Liga however had a different story to tell, as Real Madrid have won 1 game and faced 1 defeat in the first two games. On the other hand, Atletico Madrid started with a draw and followed it by a victory. Both clubs run the risk of being written off from the title chase very early in the season and will fight for a victory in order to get their form back.
Real Madrid started the season well after beating Sevilla to win the European SuperCup. However, their successful start could not continue as ‘Los Blancos’ succumbed to the pressure and were defeated by Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the Spanish SuperCup. The transfer window for Real Madrid was a rather mixed affair as they splurged on new signings but also made way for the exit of some first team players. Diego Lopez, Alvaro Morata and Angel Di Maria moved on as they failed to see a solid future for themselves in the Spanish side. On the other hand, veteran Xabi Alonso moved to Bayern Munich seeking a fresh challenge to further his illustrious career. While, Real Madrid lost some important players they also welcomed fresh talent in the form of three World Cup stars – Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez and Keylor Navas.
Real Madrid started their La Liga campaign with an unconvincing 2-0 victory against newly-promoted Cordoba only to follow it with an embarrassing 4-2 defeat away from home against Real Sociedad.
Atletico Madrid started the season with a bang as they set out to prove that last season was not a fluke and they are serious contenders at the league as well as European level. Atletico beat local rivals Real Madrid to claim the first silverware of the season in the form of the Spanish SuperCup. ‘La Rojiblancos’ also had a rather debatable time in the transfer window as they made many fresh signings and lost a few key players. Diego Costa and Felipe Luis both left to London to join Courtois at Chelsea who returned after his loan-spell. The three were a rather important of Diego Simeone’s side which was crowned La Liga champions last season. Atletico managed to acquire some good talent in the form of Mandzukic and Antoine Griezmann.
Atletico Madrid had a slow start to the season as their first game was goalless draw against Rayo Vallecano followed by a 2-1 win against Eibar.
Both teams will have to fight till the last minute in the search of victory. There is a lot of tension and aggression when both the teams from Madrid face each other. There will be tackles flying, play-acting and cards being shown the entire game. A competitive and aggressive tussle awaits us on Saturday night.
Team News and Tactics
After the international break, Real Madrid will be disappointed that the FIFA injury bug bit Carvajal and Khedira. Khedira who missed most parts of the last season due to injury has been undergone a surgery and is expected to be missing from action for a long time. Carvajal meanwhile has been a very important figure for Real Madrid as he has made the right back position his. The services of the Spaniard will be sorely missed by Real Madrid and he will most probably be replaced by Arbeloa. There is some good news for ‘Los Blancos’ as Cristiano Ronaldo, after being rested for the game against Real Sociedad, is back at his 100%. The Portuguese is expected to start the game ahead of James Rodriguez or Isco.
Iker Casillas showed glimpses of good form during the international break and is expected to start between the sticks. Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe and Marcelo are expected to occupy the backline. The loss of Xabi Alonso has been a hard one to digest for most Real Madrid fans and the only relief for them is Illarramendi. Illarramendi was brought in last season to eventually succeed in Alonso’s position considering their similar style of play. The former Real Sociedad player is expected to start ahead of Isco alongside Modric and Kroos in the midfield. The return of Cristiano Ronaldo means that James Rodriguez might have to start on the bench. Bale and Benzema will partner Ronaldo in the attacking third.
Probable Line-Up – Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Illarramendi, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo;
The person that will be most by Atletico Madrid will be without doubt Diego Simeone. The Atletico manager will have to watch from the stands as he is still facing suspension. Arda Turan is expected to return to the starting line-up as the midfielder featured in both the games for Turkey during the international break. Turan was missing from action in Atletico’s last game before the international break. Cristian Rodriguez is suffering from a calf injury and is expected to miss out the derby. Simeone will be rather happy with the players available for selection and will field a strong side for this important fixture.
Goalkeeper Moya is expected to start the game. Juanfran, Miranda, Godin and Sequeira will form the back four. Gabi and Mario Suarez will play as in a deeper midfield role. Mario Suarez has the tough task of replacing Diego who left Atletico for Fenerbahce. Koke and Griezmann are expected to flank both the wings with the physical Raul Garcia is expected to start as behind lone forward Mario Mandzukic.
Probable Line-Up – Moya; Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Siqueira; Gabi, Suarez; Koke, Garcia, Griezmann; Mandzukic;
Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid
The Madrid derby matches have been a very close affair in the recent times and Saturday’s game does not promise anything different. Playing at home, Real Madrid have a point to prove and a chance to get their season back on track by beating Atletico. Atletico meanwhile will go all out to prevent Real Madrid from gaining the crucial 3 points.
Player to watch out for
Mario Mandzukic (Atletico Madrid)
After Diego Costa’s departure to Chelsea, Atletico Madrid were quick to replace him by another world-class striker in the form of former Bayern Munich player Mandzukic. Mandzukic is a prolific striker and he scored the lone goal against Real Madrid in the second leg of the Spanish SuperCup and is expected to shine at the Bernabeu.