Another morale-boosting victory is a must if Real Madrid are to approach the Champions League semi-final clash with Borussia Dortmund in the best possible manner. Real Betis hope that the stunning comeback in Derbi sevillano is going to keep them in good stead for the match at Santiago Bernabeu.
Comfortable victory at San Mames
Real Madrid have done brilliantly to get their season back on track following some unexpected struggles in the first part of the campaign, and they seem to be on top of their game at the moment. The most important thing is that attack is in perfect working order, with Ronaldo and Higuain notching goals for fun, while nobody is too concerned by the fact that los Blancos continue to leak goals even against the weakest La Liga side. The emphatic manner of the 3-0 victory at San Mames proved the team have kept the rich vein of form and they are now expected to display all their qualities against Real Betis. With the all-important Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund just around the corner, los Merengues will want to keep the great atmosphere in the squad by recording another comfortable victory, even if Jose Mourinho might be tempted into resting several starters in this match. One way or another, Real Madrid are hot favourites to see off Real Betis and cement the second place in the La Liga standings.
Xabi Alonso misses out through suspension, while Michael Essien is out injured. Kaka returns to the side, but Alvaro Arbeloa and Fabio Coentrao are both doubtful.
European dream fading
Everybody at the club can be proud of the fact that Real Betis were able to mount a serious top 4 challenge, although los Verdiblancos will certainly be disappointed if they miss out on European qualification. It was the 3-0 defeat at Mestalla and goalless draw at home against Getafe that seriously hurt team’s top 4 chances, although the last two results should have helped the players restore some of the lost confidence. The amazing 5-1 away victory over Granada was followed by a 3-3 draw in Derbi sevillano, which can be considered a good result given that the team had come from three goals behind to earn one point. Seeing as how los Verdiblancos are two and six points adrift of Europa League and Champions League positions respectively, they have no choice but to try and get something from Sanatiago Bernabeu, which means they can be trusted to adopt a direct approach in Madrid. Having said that, Real Betis have plenty of attacking potential to hurt even such a good opposition.
Nosa Igiebor is back in contention, but Paulao is doubtful with a muscle problem. Mario Alvarez and Nacho are not yet ready to return.
Real Madrid are clearly the hot favourites here, but their back line is likely to be under a lot of pressure throughout the match. Real Betis are playing with a lot of confidence at the moment and while they may not be able to record a victory at Santiago Bernabeu, they can certainly extend their excellent scoring run.
Top pick: Both teams to score 1.75 (3/4) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 1: Over 3.5 goals 2.10 (11/10) @ Paddy Power
Alternative pick 2: Real Madrid with -1.5 Asian handicap 1.75 (3/4) @ bet365
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