Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid: La Liga Preview & Potential Line-ups

by Marko Vrakela
La Liga
La Liga

Estadio Santiago Bernabeu forms the backdrop for the 232nd competitive installment of the famous 'El Derbi Madrileno' between arch-rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid on Saturday evening.

Despite falling two goals behind only 14 minutes into Tuesday's Champions League trip to Liverpool, Real Madrid scored five unanswered goals within 46 minutes to dismantle the Reds 5-2 in the first leg of their mouth-watering last-16 tie.

Vinicius Junior's first-half brace, followed by Karim Benzema's vintage second-half performance, saw Los Merengues become the first-ever club to score five times in one Champions League game at Anfield.

With confidence skyrocketing in the Real Madrid camp, it's hard to put it past Carlo Ancelotti's high-flyers to whittle down an eight-point gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona in the remainder of the season.

Indeed, following a patchy three-game league form (W1, D1, L1), Los Blancos have won their last two top-flight matches by 2+ goals 'to nil,' peaking at the best possible moment.

That's not what visiting Atletico Madrid would want to hear, especially considering their pursuit of an 11th straight top-four finish under Diego Simeone remains up in the air.

Back-to-back 1-0 wins over Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao in the build-up to this fixture lifted Los Rojiblancos four points clear of fifth-placed Real Betis, bolstering the visitors' confidence ahead of a traditionally unattainable trip to the Bernabeu.

Match Preview

Real Madrid

Los Merengues boast a formidable recent H2H record against Atletico, going unbeaten in 12 of their last 13 meetings in La Liga (W6, D6), including a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture at the Metropolitano Stadium.

On top of that, Ancelotti's men have won their last three home league encounters against eternal cross-town rivals without conceding, having gone winless in their six previous home H2Hs in the top-flight (D3, L3).

Maintaining that run would see Real Madrid stitch together three consecutive wins in La Liga for the first time since October and potentially reignite their title bid.

Atletico Madrid

After picking up just one point on three La Liga travels between October and mid-January (D1, L2), Los Rojiblancos have won their last two away league matches by an identical 1-0 scoreline.

Home and away, Simeone's charges are unbeaten in their last six outings in La Liga (W4, D2), accounting for their longest undefeated run in the competition this season.

Yet a low-scoring has been a common theme in Atletico Madrid's recent La Liga fixtures, with each of the last four in a row featuring under 2.5 total goals.  

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid Potential Line-ups

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, Antonio Rudiger, Nacho; Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, Toni Kroos; Federico Valverde, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior.

Atletico Madrid (4-4-2): Jan Oblak; Nahuel Molina, Stefan Savic, Mario Hermoso, Reinildo Mandava; Marcos Llorente, Pablo Barrios, Koke, Yannick Carrasco; Antoine Griezmann, Alvaro Morata. 

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