Real Betis Vs. Real Madrid, La Liga 2012: Open Thread

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Real Madrid travel to Andalucía today to take on bottom-feeding, relegation-level Real Betis tonight (22:00 CET, 4:00 PM EST). Despite all the dash-filled adjectives I just used to describe Betis, this match won't be as easy as it sounds: Betis is a solid team at home, and their fans are extremely passionate and loud. They can be physical at times, and will play Madrid tight on defense, so Mourinho's men will have to look extra hard (and push back a little) to find any space to attack.

At the same time, Betis will attack as well, and Madrid could exploit their moves on the counter; unfortunately for the sevillanos, Betis have been both very unlucky (17 balls off the post this season--we talked about this in the preview), and highly mediocre on offense (only 29 goals scored). There will be opportunities there for Madrid: los blancos will just need to take them.

The main questions for Madrid heading into the match center on Mourinho's lineup: will Karim Benzema return from his injury tonight (unlikely)? Will he choose to start Callejón over Kaká in the midfield to add some speed and muscle to the proceedings? Or will Mourinho favor his in-form lineup, with Kaká and Higuaín? Will Raphaël Varane see some time in the back line? We'll learn more throughout the night.

This is your forum to discuss the game, debate the lineup, and talk about Real Madrid generally. Oh, and if you want up-to-the-minute Real Madrid news and analysis, follow us on Twitter @managingmadrid, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Hala Madrid!

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