?After their narrow win over Eibar last Saturday, with an 84th minute Cristiano Ronaldo goal proving the difference between the sides, Real Madrid return to the Bernabeu to play 7th placed Girona.
Real are essentially out of the title race, with a 15 point gap separating them from La Liga leaders Barcelona. They can still try to make up points on second, however, as they are seven points behind local rivals Atletico Madrid.
Girona are seventh, and could possibly go up to fifth if Sevilla and Villarreal both fail to win their next games. Here is everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s game:
Previous League Encounter
The last time these sides met in the league was in October of last year. The game ended as a shock 2-1 win to Girona, and the result let Real Madrid eight points from leaders Barcelona.
The game started off well for Los Blancos, with Isco netting the opener in the 12th minute, but two second half goals within four minutes from Girona’s Christhian Stuani and Portu earned Girona the biggest result in their history.
Real will look to avenge this result in the reverse fixture at the Bernabeu.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Ramalho
After starting this season off slow, Ronaldo has recently returned to his form of recent years, scoring 13 goals in his last seven games in all competitions.
Girona will have to suppress the effect of Ronaldo to stand a chance of avoiding a loss, and it is likely Ronaldo will be attacking on Ramalho’s side. The 24-year-old will have to deal with the pace and quality of Ronaldo for the 90 minutes, otherwise it will be a long game for the Catalan side.
Real Madrid have no significant injury worries, so they should be expected to start their best lineup for this game.
Girona will miss goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz and left back Carles Planas for this game. Pedro Alcala remains out since September last year.
Potential Real Madrid Starting Lineup: Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Modric, Kroos, Isco, Bale, Ronaldo
Potential Girona Starting Lineup: Bounou, Ramalho, Espinosa, Ramirez Lopez, Maffeo Becerra, Pere Pons, Granell, Mojica, Portu, Borja, Stuani
Real Madrid should be expected to win this reverse fixture, considering the improved form of star man Cristiano Ronaldo and the fact that they have the home advantage.
However, they should not underestimate the threat of Girona. They have already lost to the Catalan minnows this season, and they are currently on a win streak of three games. There is also the threat of Cristhian Stuani, who has 15 goals in the La Liga this season.
Prediction: Real Madrid 3-1 Girona