Even by Real Madrid’s traditionally eventful standards, it has been a tumultuous season at the Bernabeu. But the dressing room conflicts and struggling league form are likely to have faded into the memory of many Madrid fans after an incredible week. As if two wins against fierce rivals Barcelona weren’t enough, Jose Mourinho’s side followed it up with a dramatic comeback to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and secure a place in the last eight of the Champions League.
Mourinho still looks set to depart at the end of the season, but he now has a far greater chance of doing so on a high.
Madrid will be under few illusions that their La Liga win over Barcelona gives them a chance of catching the leaders, but they are now just two points behind Atletico Madrid in the battle for second place and local pride.
Speaking before Sunday’s trip to face Celta Vigo, Madrid assistant coach said that, although some players will be rested after a grueling period, the match will not be taken lightly.
“We've always selected teams in order to win the matches and I'm sure tomorrow's line-up will be very strong in order to win the game,” he said, according to Real Madrid’s official Web site. “Some players such as [Raphael] Varane, [Sergio] Ramos and [Fabio] Coentrao have played three matches in a row and deserve to rest. These matches require an intense level of concentration.”
The match is certainly of vital importance for Celta Vigo. New coach Abel Resino led the side to a first victory in seven league games in his first match in charge, but was unable to build on that momentum as they followed it up with a 4-1 defeat to Sevilla last time out. Celta go into the game second from bottom of La Liga, two points from safety.
Defenders Hugo Mallo and Samuel, as well as midfielder Natxo Insa are set to miss out through injury.
Celta Vigo (probable)
D: Jonny, Cabral, Demidov, Lago
M: Oubina, Lopez
Fernandez, Orellana, Krohn-Dehli
Real Madrid (probable)
D: Arbeloa, Albiol, Pepe, Marcelo
M: Khedira, Modric
Ozil, Kaka, Ronaldo
Prediction: At first glance the fixture looks primed for Madrid to continue their recent fine form. However, Celta are exactly the type of opponents that Madrid have struggled against on the road this season in La Liga.
With a weakened lineup, Jose Mourinho’s side could well struggle against a Celta side, whose home record is impressive for a side battling relegation. A surprise draw could be on the cards.
Celta Vigo 1-1 Real Madrid
Where to watch: The La Liga clash will kick-off from the Balaidos at 2 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by beIN Sport. A live stream, which you view at your own discretion, will be available here.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.