This has been one of the most regularly played fixtures in European football in recent years with the two Madrid giants meeting in a host of different domestic and European competitions. Therefore clearly they know each others strengths and weaknesses very well and the games between the two have generally been very close.
Only one of the last six league meetings have been settled by more than a single goal while three of their recent four Champions League clashes have finished level after 90 minutes so despite their contrast in styles, often the sides end up cancelling each other out to some extent.
Right now Real Madrid look to be in slightly the better shape. They are top of La Liga and victory at the Vicente Calderon is likely to be enough to make them the new favourites to win it so it would be a really significant result if they can get it. Real Madrid are unbeaten in 28 matches now in all competitions stretching way back to their Champions League defeat at Wolfsburg last season. Almost everything has gone right for Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid since then and unlike some recent Real coaches, he’s not afraid to adopt a slightly more cautious approach in tough games such as this one to prevent their defensive weaknesses being exposed.
However it is still Atleti that come into this match as favourites. They have been shipping a few goals in recent weeks though, which is not like them at all. They’ve conceded in all of their last 4 league games, losing 2 of them so there are just a few chinks in that formidable defence that the visitors might be able to exploit.
However making a case for an away win is still a tough one. Atleti are unbeaten in 22 home matches in La Liga, winning 18 of them and drawing 4. They average 2.6 points per game at home this term, a record only Villarreal can better and they’ve already shown they can still square up to the best sides in Europe with a draw at Barcelona and victory over Bayern in the Champions League.
In truth not a great deal has changed in either side since they last met in Milan for the Champions League final in May. Both sides have a few injury concerns ahead of this one but they aren’t likely to impact on their approach or style of play that much and both coaches will have a strong idea of what to expect from his opposite number. Therefore it is likely we will see another very close, competitive game between these sides and at this stage of the season, it’s not one either side desperately needs to win so caution could prevail in the closing stages if the scores are level.