If Real Madrid's pplayers are exhausted after their tough match against Dinamo Zagreb (haha), then all the better for Atlético Madrid, who are anxiously awaiting the first Madrid "derbi" of the year. On Saturday, los blancos will host los rojiblancos at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in a much-anticipated matchup of two rivals heading in opposite directions.
Over the past few seasons, Atleti has been hard-pressed to take even a point (out of the six possible) from their crosstown rivals: Real Madrid have even come to see these matches as an almost-guaranteed six points every year. And this season, with the departure of now-megastar Sergio "Kun" Aguero to Manchester City, los colchoneros will have an even more complicated road to victory in the Bernabéu.
But all is not lost at the Vicente Calderón, despite how things look: though they are currently languishing in the middle of the table, and are in the middle of another disappointing season, a win against Real Madrid could turn things around for the embattled Gregorio Manzano-coached side. New arrival Diego already knows as much, stating that "the Bernabéu is the ideal place to really put our fist down."
And in even better news for Atlético, star-in-making Radamel Falcao is doing his best Superman impression, working his tail off to get in shape for the biggest match of the year (so far) for los rojiblancos. Apparently, he has begun to make short passes and take some shots, though everything has been very "easy" and "light". As a Madrid fan, I hope he doesn't make it, though in some sense it would be nice to see him out there.
Manzano also hasrevealed his plan of attack for Saturday's clash, suggesting that the key to beating Madrid is shutting down playmaking midfielder Xabi Alonso. This actually seems like the right general idea to me, though the execution will be alot more complicated than the theory itself--it's like how people go into Barcelona planning to shut down Xavi, sure, it might work for a while, but eventually he'll break you down.
Finally, if Falcao doesn't end up playing, Atleti's exciting young canterano Adrián would love to get a shot at Iker Casillas. Sure, he hasn't ever scored against Madrid, but damnit that doesn't matter right now!