Sevilla will battle it out for fourth position against a Real Madrid side plagued by suspensions and injuries, at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
Both sides are level on 28 points to their name going into the tie, with just goal difference separating the two, with Real Madrid ahead in fourth place. They both have the opportunity of moving into third place, should Atletico Madrid, the current occupants of the position with 30 points, lose to Real Betis on the same night.
As per the 19-man squad list released on Real Madrid’s official site, Zinedine Zidane has quite a sizable task putting together a strong side, with five key first-team players unavailable on the night. The hosts will be without Raphael Varane and Gareth Bale, both of whom are missing out due to injury.
Sergio Ramos, Casemiro and Dani Carvajal will have to sit this one out due to suspension. Defence is, thus, a glaring problem, with both the first-choice centre-backs unavailable, and Jesus Vallejo and Nacho should start as the central defensive partnership.
Speaking about Gareth Bale’s fitness in his pre-match press conference, Zidane said, “He’s only trained with us for part of the session and will not be with us tomorrow. The idea is that he’ll travel with us to the Club World Cup. We’ll see if he’s available for the first game.”
When asked about his compatriot Raphael Varane, Zidane said, “Varane’s thing isn’t serious. He’ll not be available for tomorrow, but after the scan we’ve been able to see that it’s nothing serious and he’ll travel with us for the Club World Cup,’ before going on to add: ‘It’s nothing serious and that’s positive.”
Their opponents Sevilla are expected to be without injured duo Daniel Carrico and Nico Pareja, while Steven N’Zonzi is also set to miss out. But perhaps their most important absentee is manager Eduardo Berizzo, who is currently undergoing rehabilitation after being diagnosed with cancer and the Andalusians will undoubtedly want to win this one for their manager.