When Real Madrid meets Atletico Madrid on Sunday in the Spanish capital it will be different than in recent times when the two local teams faced-off, this time the leader in La Liga could be decided.
After last weekend’s results in which “los blancos” won convincingly against Elche — without their main attraction, Cristiano Ronaldo, still serving his three-match suspension — and Barca lost in a surprise development, Carlo Ancelotti’s men found themselves the sole leaders of La Liga for the first time since May of 2012.
This will be the fourth time the Real and Atletico meet this season and they both come fresh from important victories in the Champions League last-16 phase. Real Madrid crushed the Germans Schalke 6-1, while Atletico won by a more modest — but not less important — 1-0 against AC Milan.
For the last few weeks Real Madrid and Atletico were in a three way tie with Barcelona for first place in the Spanish League, now Real is the sole holder of the number one spot.
Real Madrid, even without Ronaldo is a team to behold — in La Liga and Champions League — and seemingly unstoppable, losing only two matches this season and both came at the hands of Atletico and Barca.
Sunday, Real Madrid and their “BBC” trio made of Benzama, Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo will have the opportunity to prove that they can hang on to first place. The team has been getting progressively better without Ronaldo, so it remains to be seen if that will continue with him in the lineup.
Manager Ancelotti has said that he will star his “BBC” as expected and this will make for one of the most exciting games of the weekend, if not the most exciting one.
Real Madrid is playing very well, and now that Ronaldo is back for the team and Bale is getting more comfortable in the Spanish league, coupled with Benzama’s perfect complimenting style of play, it will be interesting to see who can stop “los blancos.”
They are undefeated in their last 27 encounters of any league and Ancelotti no doubt has one of the most feared offensives in the league.
Xabi Alonso — who has made important contributions in controlling opponents — put it best:
“We have a lot of potential up front. We create a lot of chances and it’s good news that the three forwards are fired up.”
“Sunday’s game is very important for us and it is going to be very tough. We are confident but we know that each match is a different story. If we don’t go out with the same focus as today any team is capable of giving us a scare.”
As to Atletico, last weekends’s shocking 3-0 loss put some doubt in an otherwise excellent season, after some of its key starters were left out of the lineup and the team clearly struggled.
“We are playing at our stadium, where we are unbeaten (in La Liga this season) and I am convinced we will play a good match and win,” fullback Juanfran added.
Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid face-off on Sunday at 4 pm local time.