Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid preview

May 1, 2017
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

After meeting in two of last three Champions League finals, the Madrid rivals will be squaring off in the UCL semis this time out.

It goes without saying that Atletico Madrid will be out to get revenge for said two defeats, while Real Madrid hope to edge closer to becoming the first ever club to defend the coveted trophy.

This could prove to be one of the most successful seasons in recent years for Real Madrid, who are on the verge of lifting the La Liga trophy for the first time after five years.

Despite losing the El Clasico, Real Madrid have the upper hand in the title chase as they are level on points with Barcelona, but have a game in hand.

Los Blancos are also hoping to achieve European success by lifting back to back Champions League trophies and they’ve got another two obstacles on the road.

Real Madrid have been made 1.83 (8/11) favourites to defeat Atletico in the first leg, but it is clear they will not have an easy task.

With Welsh superstar Gareth Bale out through injury, Zinedine Zidane has decided to play in-form Isco from the start.

At the same time, fit-again Raphael Varane returns to the starting line-up and he will resume his defensive partnership with Sergio Ramos.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-1-2): Navas – Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo – Modric, Casemiro, Kroos – Isco – Benzema, Ronaldo.

Atletico Madrid were incredibly unfortunate not to win either of their two Champions League finals in recent years, but they showed amazing spirit and character to mount another serious title charge.

Los Rojiblancos were unable to do the same in La Liga, where they are currently locked in the battle with Sevilla for the final automatic Champions League berth.

The hectic schedule and serious injury problems appear to have taken wind out of Atletico’s sails, as witnessed by the home loss to Villarreal, but the team have since returned to the right track.

Diego Simeone’s charges enjoyed a resounding 5-0 away win over Las Palmas last time out, and the game definitely served as a welcome confidence boost ahead of the trip to the Bernabeu.

The good news is that Diego Godin returns from domestic suspension, but fellow defender Jose Maria Gimenez picked up an adductor injury at the weekend and is unlikely to feature.

Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco could play a part, but Sime Vrsaljko, Augusto Fernandez and Juanfran Torres remain in the infirmary.

Probable starting line-up (4-4-2): Oblak – Hernandez, Godin, Savic, Filipe Luis – Gaitan, Gabi, Saul, Koke – Gameiro, Griezmann.

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