It’s finally here, the first Madrid Derby of 2018 and the match that should decide where both teams will finish in the league table. There’s a lot of history of hatred between these two sides and Sunday’s match at the Santiago Bernabéu will be no different. Both Real and Atlético have been in great form as of late and should make for some exciting football. The last time these two met was back in November, a 0-0 result at the Wanda Metropolitana.
Real Madrid put on quite the show in Turin against Juventus on Wednesday, and will be looking to carry some of that momentum back home against Atlético. Los Blancos have won their last 4 matches in La Liga, due in large part to their incredible recovery in top form. They sit 3rd in the table, lagging 4 points behind Sunday’s opponents.
Atlético, meanwhile, have their heads held high after defeating Sporting CP in the Europa League. They sit 2nd in the league table, of course being 4 points ahead of Real.
While the Derby is always a huge match, Sunday’s will be especially big because of what’s at stake. With a win, Real would only be a point behind Atlético for 2nd place in La Liga. It would hopefully also distance themselves from Valencia, who are 4th and only a point behind Real. While neither side will catch Barcelona for first, both teams will want to fight over 2nd for bragging rights.
Nacho is still hurt for Real, so he will not feature on Sunday in the Derby. Outside of him, the rest of the squad should be ready to go. Varane appeared to be shaken a bit against Juventus, but he is back in training with the club. There are no suspensions.
On Atlético’s side, their released roster shows both Felipe Luis and Jose Maria Gimenez are out for this match due to injury. Juanfran and Sime Vrsaljko are both back in Atlético’s squad after injury. They also have no listed suspensions for Sunday’s Derby.
Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Kovacic, Kroos; Asensio, Bale, Ronaldo
There’s a good problem that Zidane has on his hands for this match, which is having multiple options on who to start. Since the plan is to play Vallejo in Ramos’ place for the 2nd leg against Juventus on Wednesday, Varane could start if match ready. Kovacic and Asensio should both start as well in place of Casemiro and Isco. This should also be a start where Bale is featured and show why he deserves to draw back into the starting lineup. Ronaldo will likely pair up with Bale, which means Benzema will come off the bench.
Oblak; Juanfran, Godin, Savic, Lucas; Saul, Gabi, Koke; Correa, Griezmann, Costa
3-2 Real Madrid-Atlético Madrid
There doesn’t seem to be a reason why Real won’t keep scoring like they have been if Ronaldo starts. Likewise, Atlético have been scoring too and that could make for a higher-scoring, more entertaining Derby given how good Griezmann has been as well.
This will be a good start for the likes of Kovacic, Bale, and Asensio who haven’t really seen too much starting action. Zidane could choose from a multitude of lineups, though, so it’s important that whoever starts comes prepared to play. While the emphasis has clearly shifted towards the Champions League, this is still a big match Real will want to win.
Regardless of what happens, this should make for an entertaining match given the forms of these two sides lately. And it should hopefully end in a better result than 0-0, though hopefully a win for the home side. Happy Derby Day!