Preview: Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid

‘We should have booted the ball away’ – Upset Zidane on draw against Valladolid

Real Madrid will be aiming to recover from their recent defeat at Sevilla when they host local rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

La Liga
Date: 29 September 2018
Game week 7
Kick-off: 20H45 local time/02H45 HKT
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu

Referee: J. Martinez
Assistants: D. Barbero, C. Noval
Fourth official: M. Bosch

Head-to-head summary

Real Madrid 62 34 17 11
Atletico 62 11 17 34

Previous encounter

Real Madrid 2-4 Atletico 15/08/18 (UEFA Super Cup)

Real Madrid goalscorers: K. Benzema (27′), S. Ramos (pen 63′)
Atletico goalscorers: D. Costa (1′, 79′), Saul (98′), Koke (104′)

Players to watch

Real will be hoping veteran striker Karim Benzema can rediscover his form from early in the season. The Frenchman scored braces against Girona and Leganes, but has since failed to find the back of the net in his last three La Liga games.

Striker Diego Costa has been instrumental in Atletico’s success this season. He has scored three goals in eight games, but more importantly has provided the team with an outlet up front which appears to bring out the best in strike-partner Antoine Griezmann.

Team form and manager quotes

Los Blancos made an unbeaten start to their La Liga campaign, winning four and drawing one of their opening five fixtures. However, their most recent outing saw them lose 3-0 at the Sevillistas.

Despite the defeat, Real are second in the standings, level on points with leaders Barcelona, but a defeat in the Madrid derby would see Atleti leapfrog them.

The last time these two sides met, Atletico won 4-2 after extra-time in the UEFA Super Cup.

Real manager Julen Lopetegui told the press: “When one wears this shirt, every game is special for the players and that applies to the coach too. Tomorrow is no exception and that’s how we’re preparing the match.

“I expect it to be a tight game, demanding and highly competitive. Atletico are a great team with a fine collection of players.”

Meanwhile, Diego Simeone’s charges have put in some impressive performances of late. They come into the clash having beaten Getafe 2-0 and Huesca 3-0 in their last two league games.

Former AS Monaco star Thomas Lemar made a significant impact in both of those victories. The Frenchman scored his first goal of the season at Getafe, before providing the assist for Koke’s strike against Huesca.

However, Simeone emphasised the importance of striker Diego Costa instead, telling the press: “I see him being in fantastic form and for me, in the first half the other day, above all else he played very well.

“He participated in the team’s first goal with an assist (against Huesca last week) and was always continuously moving and causing problems.

“Physically, he is strong and against Madrid, he will surely have a great game.”

Team news

Real will be without Isco, who underwent an operation for apendicitis, while Marcelo is sidelined after picking up a knock against Sevilla. Dani Carvajal is back in training and could feature.

Atleti could be short in defence as centre-back Jose Maria Gimenez is a doubt, while fellow centre-back Stefan Savic is sidelined through injury.