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Preview (Primera Iberdrola): Real Madrid Femenino vs. Atlético Madrid

This could be one of the most decisive games of the season in the race for the Champions League spots.

Levante UD Femenino V Real Madrid Femenino - Primera Division Femenina Photo by Ivan Terron / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images

This is what the top 12 in Primera Iberdrola looks like going into Saturday’s Derbi Madrileño:

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Granadilla Tenerife have taken the league by surprise to place first in the provisional table, though FC Barcelona are sure to make ground on the three matches they’ve yet to play, having averaged a stunning ~5.6 goals per game while only conceding once.

Assuming the likely scenario where La Blaugrana do outpace everyone else, Real Madrid Femenino would still be in third, four points ahead of 2018/19 title winners Atlético Madrid.

It’s been a strange season for the once all-powerful force in Spain. After a decent start to the year built on their classic defensive solidity, they gave up 3 goals to Athletic Bilbao before losing 1-0 to 10-women Madrid CFF. Perhaps this is only a temporary blip, but there is a sense of unease in the Atléti fanbase to see their team where they are now and their crosstown rivals already ahead in the standings.

The feeling that things could be better has been heightened by a season of transition in the summer transfer window, with top goal scorer Angela Sosa moving to Real Betis and experienced right back Kenti Robles being allowed to run down her contract. If you’ve been keeping up with Las Blancas even a little bit, you’ll know that Real swooped in and picked up Kenti on a free.

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Angela Sosa is now plying her trade at Real Betis.
Photo by Joaquin Corchero / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images

Atlético have countered this by bringing in an influx of new players, such as Jade Moore, Merel van Dongen, and Grace Ntambwe, though little can paper over the time needed for signings to gel.

However, some of this change hasn’t all been down to decisions made by the club — some of it has simply been down to bad luck. Virginia Torrecilla, an important player for the team last season, received surgery for a brain tumor in May, which she is still recovering from.

All of this gives Real Madrid a proper chance to put some distance between them and their rivals in the race for Champions League qualification. Despite some tactical struggles along the way, Las Blancas have now won 5 games on the trot, including a 2-1 victory over a dangerous Levante side and an 8-1 demolition of Espanyol.

The squad is almost fully healthy, too, as star player Marta Cardona is back in the team alongside center back Babett Peter.

None of this is to say that tomorrow’s match will be easy — far from it. Atléti could yet prove that their recent form is but a blip and David Aznar’s tactical issues could come back to bite him, but there has never been a more opportune time for Real to show everyone who the real boss of Madrid is.