Malaga vs Real Madrid Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More

?Following their dramatic midweek Champions League aggregate win over Juventus, Real Madrid return to La Liga action this weekend looking to continue their five-game unbeaten domestic run when they make the trip to bottom club Malaga on Sunday evening. 

Zinedine Zidane’s men will be heading into the tie eyeing a much-needed confidence boost after Wednesday’s fiasco, no more so than defensively, as Los Blancos somehow surrendered what seemed an unassailable three-goal advantage via shoddy work at the back. 

Malaga, meanwhile, could find themselves within one game from relegation should Levante claim victory at Atletico Madrid, and they fail to secure anything against Real, with the gap between the Segunda-bound table-proppers and safety currently 14 points with only seven games remaining.

However, having netted three times in their last two games, one of which during a 1-0 win over Villarreal, Jose Gonzalez’s side have shown they still possess fight. But, ahead of what looks like already a foregone conclusion, let’s take a look at all you need to know…


Classic Encounter

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Malaga 3-2 Real Madrid (December, 2012)

Having only secured victory over Real Madrid once since 1999, Malaga’s 3-2 win over the Spanish giants in December 2012 was a historic day for the club.

The scores were level at the break before the encounter exploded with five second half goals, with the hosts’ opener coming courtesy of now-Los Blancos man and former FIFA Golden Boy winner Isco before Sergio Sanchez’s own goal tied things up again.

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However, two strikes in three minutes from former Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City man Roque Santa Cruz meant even Karim Benzema’s finish with eight minutes remaining was not enough to deprive the Estadio La Rosaleda faithful a Christmas to remember. 


Key Battle

Ignasi Miquel vs Gareth Bale

Real Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna - La Liga

Due to the suspension of Malaga’s Luis Hernandez, it will most likely fall upon the shoulders of fellow centre back Ignasi Miquel to keep Gareth Bale quiet on Sunday evening. 

Despite consistent speculation regarding the Welshman’s future in Spain, his recent La Liga form has been inspiring; netting three goals and an assist in his last three outings. 

And coming up against a confidence-strapped Boquerones defence, which has featured the former Arsenal, Leicester City and Norwich city guardian Miquel regularly since the turn of the year, Bale will be expecting to add to his recent haul.


Team News

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Malaga face challenging the free-scoring Los Blancos with a lengthy injury list, with veteran midfielder Recio and Venezuelan attacking duo Adalberto Penaranda and Juanpi Anor all unavailable. Meanwhile, the aforementioned centre back Hernandez is suspended.

In the Real Madrid camp, Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be left at home as has been the trend on similar trips to lower opposition this season.

Sergio Ramos, meanwhile, is set to return to what is expected to be a heavily rotated lineup this weekend after missing the defeat to Juventus through suspension. However, Nacho remains sidelined after picking up an injury during his side’s 3-0 win over Las Palmas last month. 


Prediction

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Although Real Madrid showed weaknesses in midweek and were fortunate to secure their showdown with Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals, Sunday should see a return to the norm alongside a convincing victory. 

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Zidane has never tasted defeat to Malaga during his tenure in the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu dugout, and it looks highly unlikely that this weekend will be any different. 

Prediction: Malaga 0-4 Real Madrid

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