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With La Liga steadily heading towards Barcelona, there isn't much at stake in the latest installment of "Madrid Derby". However, the pride of beating your fiercest rival in a derby match and a chance to finish above your renowned rival is something beyond any quantifiable measure.
With four points separating 2nd placed Atletico from Real Madrid in the table, Diego Simeone's men have a perfect opportunity to finish the season ahead of their local rivals, something that is quite an aberration for either of these teams. Considering how they have been performing this season and the profile of the teams the 2013 L Liga champions will be facing in their next 7 matches after this game, Atletico only need to avoid a defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu to achieve a 2nd place finish in the league this season.
While for Los Blancos, a poor start to the campaign saw their title challenge was hanging by a thread before they faced Barcelona in the first El Clasico of 2017-18 season. The chastening 0-3 defeat in that match, really, ended any lingering hopes of becoming the Spanish Champion for the 2nd consecutive season. Though Zidane's team improved significantly after the turn of this year, Barcelona's imperious run means the gap was too big in the points tally was too big to cover in a short span of time.
Talking about the game, we may not see a whole lot of changes in the squads as both Madrid and Atletico won big in their European quarterfinals. So the temptation of resting big-name players is out of the question and we may witness a full-throttle approach from both the teams at the Bernabeu.
Atletico have had a pretty solid campaign till now with the exception of a poor showing in the Champions League this season. They have lost just three games in La Liga this season, compared to Real's five. Once again, their defense is the tightest in La Liga, conceding at just 0.47 goals per game this season, a huge 19 fewer than Real Madrid.
The defending Champions, on the other hand, have lost three times already at home in the league campaign this season. Their tally of 2.13 points per game in home matches is quite poor by their standards and is only the fourth best home record in Spain's top-tier. Also, Ramos and Company have conceded in 67% of their home games and Atletico have enough talent in their ranks to hurt the porous defense of their hosts.
Team News -
Real Madrid -
Raphael Varane is carrying a knock and is a doubt for this game. But with Nacho missing this match due to the injury, the French international is expected to start at the back.
Atletico Madrid - Griezmann and Vitolo both returns for this match after missing the last match through suspension, whilst Filipe Luiz is out injured.
Probable XI - Oblak (GK), Juanfran, Godin, Savic, Hernandez, Niguez, Partey, Gabi, Koke, Griezmann, Costa
Take a look at some statistics-
1. Real Madrid are winless in their last four games at Santiago Bernabeu against Atletico Madrid heading into this match. However, they have lost just once in their last six games in all competitions.
2. This will be the 219th Madrid derby, and Real have won more games than their city rivals, 109 games so far in all competitions.
3. Real Madrid have attempted a whopping 228 shots at the opponents' goal this season, more than any other team in Spain this season.
4. Meanwhile, Atletico have allowed the 2nd fewest shots (96) on their goal in 2017-18, behind only Barcelona (94). A fascinating match-up-
5. Since Diego Simeone took charge of Atletico, the Los Rojiblancos have won four times in the 12 Derby games, a significant improvement considering they won just twice in the previous 36 games before the Argentine's reign started.