Just three weeks after playing the second El Derbi Madrileno of the season, crosstown rivals Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid will meet in Saudi Arabia for the Spanish Super Cup final. It marks the 273rd time since 1903, when a group of university students created Atlético in response to their distaste with the established Madrid side's style of play.
Since then, Real Madrid have won 138 Madrid derby matches to just 69 for Atlético Madrid, with 65 matches drawn. But when the rival clubs take to the pitch at the iconic Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on Saturday, they will each find themselves battling to score the first goal after two previous matches that ended scoreless after the regulation 90 minutes. On January 12, Real Madrid won the Super Cup final in a penalty shootout.
Historically, however, Atlético has not been intimidated playing at the home of their city rivals. On no less than nine occasions, the junior Madrid team has defeated Real in the Copa del Rey final held at the Bernabéu, according to Goal.com.
In fact, since 2013, Los Rojiblancos have held their own against their more powerful, and better-financed rivals -- winning eight, while losing seven, with 11 games ending at level scores. But that run of relative success came after an agonizing dry spell when Atlético went a full 14 years and 25 derby meetings without a victory over Real Madrid.
In the video below, the ESPN FC expert panel offers predictions and previews the weekend's Madrid derby.Despite the fact that the two rivals have played to a goalless stalemate twice the season, Real Madrid sit atop La Liga with 46 points after 21 matches. Atlético Madrid sit in fifth place, needing a win in Saturday's match to penetrate the top four, and 10 points off the top of the the table. Perhaps as a result, Real Madrid enter the derby match as heavy favorites.
According to odds published by Soccer Times, the legal bookmakers have given the hosts club 4/5 odds of winning, while underdog Atlético come in at 10/3.
The oddsmakers perceptions are also certainly shaped by the fact that Real Madrid have now played 20 matches since suffering a defeat, according to USA Today, while the visitors have endured four games without a win.
In addition, Portugal forward João Félix -- the club's prized offseason signing -- is not expected to make the crosstown trip, due to injury. Diego Costa, Captain Jorge "Koke" Resurrección, and defender José Giménez are also believed to be in line to miss the match.
The latest Madrid derby kicks off on Saturday, February 1, at 4 p.m. Central European Time at the Bernabéu. In the United States, where the game will be televised and streamed online by BeIn Sports, the start time translates to 10 a.m. EST, 7 a.m. PST.