Real Madrid are back in the La Liga title race and will be looking to get the better of FC Barcelona and city rivals Atletico, but they will have to do without stars Dani Carvajal and Gareth Bale in the crucial match against Villarreal.
With Barcelona losing ground in their last three matches, the title race is wide open again and that will give a Real Madrid a huge boost to go out and win the last five games.
The biggest absentee for manager Zinedine Zidane is Welsh star Gareth Bale, who has a leg problem. The Frenchman also said Bale might be suffering from fatigue towards the end of the season, but hopes that the former Tottenham Hotspur man returns soon.
“He [Bale] picked it up after the Getafe game,” Zidane was quoted as saying on Real Madrid’s official website. “He’ll not be involved as he’s got an overload but we hope it’s only that. It’s a little pain that he’s got behind the leg but I’m not a doctor. He’ll not be with us tomorrow but I hope he’ll be back for the next game.
“He’s got a great future ahead of him and I’ve got a good relationship with him because he’s a very straight forward lad and every day he’s improving his Spanish. He’s a very important player for the team and he knows that but he’s young and can still improve.”
Los Blancos will also be without right-back Dani Carvajal for Wednesday’s game against Villarreal. “He’s [Carvajal] got some discomfort, he’s got a bruise,” added Zidane. “He’ll not be available tomorrow. We’re going to take it a day at a time and we’ll see for the next game.”
Can Villarreal exploit the defensive weakness?
With Danilo replacing Carvajal in the right-back position, Villarreal have a great opportunity to hit Real Madrid where it can hurt them the most. While Carvajal has been their best right-back this season, Danilo has mostly been playing the role of a stand-in full-back on either side of the defence.
However, his performance in the first leg quarter-final tie at Wolfsburg was unconvincing at best, as the Bundesliga side ran away with a 2-0 victory. While Real did manage to get away with that loss by winning 3-0 in the second leg at home, the Brazilian showed that he is suspect defensively as he failed to make any successful tackles or win any aerial duels during the game.