Real Madrid host Sevilla on Sunday night, as first play third in what promises to be an intriguing La Liga clash.
Los Blancos have looked strong since Carlo Ancelotti returned to the dugout in the summer, currently enjoying a run of eight games in all competitions without defeat – seven wins and a draw. In their previous two, they claimed top spot in La Liga with a ruthless 4-1 victory over Granada before sealing a place in the Champions League knockout stage with a dominant 3-0 win over Sheriff.
On Sunday, they face a strong Sevilla side who, under Julen Lopetegui, have continued their impressive form from the 2020/21 campaign. Los Rojiblancos have lost just once in La Liga this term, winning eight of their 13 fixtures thus far and currently sitting third in the table. Meanwhile, a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg in midweek has left the door to a place in the Champions League last 16 wide open heading into matchday six of the competition.
Here’s 90min’s preview of this heavyweight clash.
When is kick off? Sunday 28 November, 20:00 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
TV channel/live stream? LaLiga TV (UK), ESPN+/fuboTV (US)
Highlights? La Liga YouTube channel
Referee? Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez
Ancelotti had a major injury scare during his side’s win over Sheriff on Wednesday night, as David Alaba was forced off with a knee injury after having scored Los Blancos’ opener. Luckily, however, the Austrian’s issue is just minor and, although he may miss the Sevilla clash, he won’t be absent for very long at all.
Elsewhere, the Real boss will have to make do without Gareth Bale and midfielders Federico Valverde and Dani Ceballos, while Eden Hazard remains a doubt after missing his side’s previous two fixtures through illness.
Lopetegui has a couple of big absentees to contend with for their trip to the capital, with captain Jesus Navas and striker Youssef En-Nesyri likely to miss out on Sunday’s encounter.
There are also big concerns over Jules Kounde, Diego Carlos and Lucas Ocampos, none of whom were part of team training on Friday. Carlos has missed two sessions following a muscle complaint in midweek.
Meanwhile, former Tottenham forward Erik Lamela and former Liverpool man Suso are doubtful to be involved at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
Sevilla: Bono; Montiel, Kounde, Rekik, Acuna; Rakitic, Fernando, Jordan; Gomez, Mir, Munir.
These two great clubs have come up against each other a whopping 167 times throughout their history, with Real Madrid predictably dominating the fixture. Los Blancos have registered 90 wins while Sevilla have come out on top just 48 times (29 draws).
Recent years have favoured the side from the capital, as well. In their last five encounters, Real have won four although only managed a draw last time out, with Hazard grabbing a dramatic 94th-minute equaliser to salvage a point.
All signs point to a tight and well-fought battle in this one.
Sevilla will inevitably prove difficult adversaries to the attacking talent that Real boast. In 13 games this campaign, Lopetegui’s men have conceded just nine times, proving the second strongest defence in La Liga to this point, but that is with Kounde and Carlos fully fit.
That back line could be weakened by injuries and will very much be put to the test on Sunday. The likes of Karim Benzema, Vinicius Jr, Marco Asensio and Rodrygo have all been fantastic this season and, with the inexhaustible creativity among the midfield and front line itself, you just have to back Los Blancos to score at some point during the course of a 90-minute period.
It’s going to be a fascinating battle between two excellent teams and, although Sevilla have looked a brilliantly complete teams for large parts of the season so far, Real Madrid are looking too strong to give anything away at this moment in time.
Prediction: Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla