With El Clasico looming large on the horizon, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is set to host 5th placed Sevilla in what promises to be an exciting clash in the Spanish La Liga.
While Real Madrid earned a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over AS Roma last week, and have therefore had a week to train for this match, Sevilla faced Basel on Thursday in their successful Europa League Round of 16 tie.
Fatigue could be an important factor, as Unai Emery’s men look to extend their five-match unbeaten run in all competitions. However, Sevilla are yet to win an away fixture (W 0, D 9, L 5) in La Liga this season, and Zidane would not want to give his counterpart an opportunity to break that disappointing run at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Embroiled in a battle for a top four finish, Sevilla will be keen to earn three points against Real Madrid, who have fallen away from the title race in recent times. With Los Blancos due to face Barcelona early next month, Zidane will look for a convincing win against a tough opponent in order to prepare for the daunting trip to Camp Nou.
While Karim Benzema has been named in the 19-man travelling squad, Pepe and Sergio Ramos are suspended for the match against Sevilla.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Navas ; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo (C); Modric, Kroos; Isco, Bale, Lucas; Ronaldo
Ever Banega is suspended for this fixture, while Vitolo and Yevhen Konoplyanka are doubtful for the away trip to Madrid.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Rico; Trémoulinas, Kolodziejczak, Rami, Mariano; Krychowiak, N’zonzi; Reyes (C), Iborra, Krohn-Dehli; Gameiro
- Sevilla are yet to win an away fixture in La Liga this season.
- Real Madrid have won 10 of their last 11 fixtures at the Santiago Bernabeu.
- Real Madrid have scored 29 goals in 7 home games since Zinedine Zidane’s appointment.
- 9 players have been sent off in the last 9 La Liga fixtures between Real Madrid and Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu.
- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more goals against Sevilla than any other team in the Spanish top flight.
Real Madrid 2 – 1 Sevilla
While both Real Madrid and Sevilla have been poor away from home this season, the Santiago Bernabeu has been a fortress for Los Blancos, who will probably come out on top on Sunday in a closely fought encounter.
Betting Odds (bet365)
- Real Madrid – 1/3
- Draw – 9/2
- Sevilla – 13/2