Following Girona’s draw Saturday, Real Madrid have a chance to take control of a tight La Liga title race but they’ll have formidable opponents in Atletico Madrid. Already having been knocked out of the Copa Del Rey at the hands of their local rivals, suffering a setback in the title to Atletico Madrid would be unacceptable for Carlo Ancelotti and company.
Real Madrid have been able to withstand injuries this season to rise to the top of the league but they can’t take their feet off the gas even if centerback Antonio Rudiger can’t feature after picking up a thigh injury midweek.
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Here’s our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
How to watch and odds
- Date: Sunday, Feb. 4 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu — Madrid, Spain
- TV: None | Live stream: ESPN+
- Odds: Real Madrid -135; Draw +300; Atletico Madrid +320
Real Madrid: Squaring off against Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann, Rudiger’s fitness is critical. He left the match against Getafe at halftime but with Eder Militao and David Alaba both already out for the season, if Rudiger can’t feature, Dani Carvajal may need to be the emergency centerback. Ancelloti has downplayed how serious Rudiger’s injury was during the week but that’s only natural to do ahead of a derby. Possession could quickly become the best defense for Los Blancos with how this match is shaping up.
Atletico Madrid: Essentially out of the running for the title but in solid grasp of a European spot, matches like this one are what define Atletico Madrid’s season. With Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann in some of the best form of their careers, this Atleti side could go on a run in Champions League but a victory over their cross-town rivals would be a great result to instill confidence that they can do it. The duo has scored 24 combined goals while the defense anchored by Axel Witsel is as strong as ever so the time is now to go out and give Los Blancos all that they can.
It’s hard to predict the match because if Rudiger plays, I don’t see Real Madrid losing but if the ever-present center-back doesn’t Atleti will be able to secure a slim victory. I’m going to assume he plays but flip my score prediction if he doesn’t. Pick: Real Madrid 2, Atletico Madrid 1