Real Madrid travel to the Basque Country on Sunday night, when they take on Real Sociedad – who remain in contention for a top four finish for the first time since 2012/13.
Zinedine Zidane’s side cruised past Valencia in midweek thanks to Karim Benzema’s double, with Marco Asensio also getting on the scoresheet after returning from long-term injury.
But they face an entirely different proposition this weekend, with Sociedad a difficult side to break down on their own patch. Los Blancos will also have memories of their Copa del Rey defeat to their opponents fresh in their mind.
Here’s 90min‘s preview of the game.
When Is Kick Off? Sunday 21 June What Time Is Kick Off? 21:00 (BST) Where Is it Played? Anoeta Stadium TV Channel/Live Stream? LaLigaTV (UK)
The home side will be without suspended full-back Joseba Zaldua, with his place likely to be handed to Andoni Gorosabel. Martin Odegaard won’t feature against his parent club after picking up a knock, and he could be replaced by David Zurutuza.
Former Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj may have to settle for a place on the bench, but there should be starting berths up front for both Alexander Isak and Willian Jose.
For Madrid, Luka Modric will be given more freedom in midfield after confirmation of Isco’s hamstring injury. Federico Valverde should start, while Eden Hazard is again expected to start after impressing since La Liga’s return.
Marcelo should come back in at left back, replacing Ferland Mendy – who was afforded some minutes during the week against Valencia.
Real Sociedad: Remiro; Gorosabel, Elustondo, Normand, Monreal; Odegaard, Zubeldia, Merino; Portu, Isak, Oyarzabal.
Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Valverde; Modric, Hazard, Benzema.
Sociedad are yet to win since La Liga returned, allowing Atletico Madrid to steal a march in the race for a Champions League qualification spot. Failure to beat Alaves and Osasuna have seen the hosts fall out of the top four, putting further pressure on this fixture.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, have won both of their games, scored six goals and only conceded once – even though they’re no longer playing at the Santiago Bernabeu. Los Blancos have only lost twice in their last 19 games, also, and look good to push Barcelona all the way as they bid to win La Liga.
Here’s how the two teams have fared in their last five outings.
Alaves 2-0 Real Sociedad (17/06/20
Real Sociedad 1-1 Osasuna (14/06/20)
Eibar 1-2 Real Sociedad (10/03/20)
Barcelona 1-0 Real Sociedad (07/03/20)
Real Sociedad 1-0 Real Valladolid (28/02/20)
Real Madrid 3-0 Valencia (18/06/20)
Real Madrid 3-1 Eibar (14/06/20)
Real Betis 2-1 Real Madrid (08/03/20)
Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (01/03/20)
Levante 1-0 Real Madrid (22/02/20)
Make no mistake about it, Real Madrid are in for a good game against Sociedad. The hosts are unbeaten in their last five home games, picking up points against Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in that time.
Real Madrid have struggled on the road at times, but do have one of La Liga’s most in-form players in Benzema – both before and after the enforced coronavirus break. A slow start for the visitors could see the shares spoiled.
Prediction: Real Sociedad 1-1 Real Madrid