Real Madrid welcome Rayo Vallecano to the Santiago Bernabeu after the historic stadium celebrated its 71st year since opening on December 14 1947.
Los Blancos will be hoping the occasion sparks an up turn in form after suffering a shock 3-0 home defeat to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, their biggest European home defeat and first home group stage loss since 2009.
Madrid are also experiencing indifferent form in La Liga, as they have made the worst ever start to a league campaign in their illustrious history, sitting fourth in league proceedings, although they are just five points off top spot.
Rayo Vallecano have failed to pull up any trees so far this campaign, and find themselves 19th position, with just two wins from 15 matches and find themselves facing the prospect of three consecutive defeats if they lose out to Madrid on Saturday.
Check out 90min’s preview of the game below.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 15 December|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||17.30 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Santiago Bernabeu|
|TV Channel / Live Stream||Eleven Sports|
|Referee?||Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea|
Santiago Solari has a few injury concerns ahead of the meeting with Rayo Vallecano this weekend. Nacho is definitely out, while Casemiro, Mariano, Sergio Reguilon and Gareth Bale are all huge doubts.
Furthermore, Toni Kroos is expected to drop to the bench once again, with the Club World Cup semi final on the horizon for Los Blancos, while Marcos Llorente is expected to keep his spot in midfield.
Meanwhile, Rayo Vallecano boss Michel also has squad deficiencies with injuries and suspensions blighting his team. Lass, Gael Kakuta and Gorka Elustondon are all injury doubts, while Jordi Amat is serving a suspension.
In light of Amat’s suspension, Emiliano Velazquez is expected to feature at centre back. Tito and Luis Advincula should double up down the right hand side, while star striker Raul de Tomas is unavailable due to a clause in his loan deal from Real Madrid.
|Real Madrid||Courtois; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Ceballos, Llorente, Modric; Asensio, Benzema, Vazquez.|
|Rayo Vallecano||Dimitrievski; Moreno,Galvez, Velazquez, Tito; Garcia, Comesana, Imbula, Advincular; Embarba Trejo.|
Head to Head
In total, these two sides have only played 36 times against one another, mainly down to Rayo’s yoyo movement between La Liga and the Segunda Division.
Real Madrid heavily dominate this fixture, having won 28 of the 36 games, which also includes three draws and just five Rayo Vallecano victories.
In fact, the last time these two faced off at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real steamrolled Rayo, winning the game 10-2, which saw Rayo take a 2-1 lead before Bale and Benzema added seven between them to inflict one of the biggest victories La Liga has ever seen.
Here’s a look at each side’s last five results.
|Real Madrid||Rayo Vallecano|
|Real Madrid 0-3 CSKA Moscow (12/12)||Real Betis 2-0 Rayo Vallecano (9/12)|
|SD Huesca 0-1 Real Madrid (9/12)||Rayo Vallecano 0-1 Leganes (4/12)|
|Real Madrid 6-1 Melilla (6/12)||Rayo Vallecano 1-0 Eibar (30/11)|
|Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia (1/12)||Valencia 3-0 Rayo Vallecano (24/11)|
|Roma 0-2 Real Madrid (27/11)||Rayo Vallecano 2-2 Villarreal (11/11)|
Real Madrid have quite the record against Rayo, and given each side’s recent form, it would make sense to back Los Blancos for this one.
Although Madrid will have one eye on the upcoming Club World Cup, they will want to continue to apply the pressure on Barcelona in top spot, who travel to Levante on Sunday and it is expected that Solari will pick a strong side.
If that wasn’t enough, the Madrid fans will be expecting a response from their side and they should have too much quality for Rayo.
Prediction: Real Madrid 3-1 Rayo Vallecano