Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images
Real Madrid play host to Sevilla on Sunday and could move three points clear at La Liga’s summit if level-pegging Barcelona drop points in their simultaneous kick-off at Las Palmas.
Los Merengues sit level on points with the Blaugrana at the head of Spain’s top flight but have had to settle for second place as a result of their head-to-head record with manager Luis Enrique’s side.
Jorge Sampaoli brings Sevilla to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu knowing a point is all that’s needed to wrap up a top-four finish, but victory in the capital could keep alive Sevilla’s hopes of beating Atletico Madrid to third spot.
Real have a UEFA Champions League final against Juventus on June 3 to think about, but first they’ll need to wind their way through three league fixtures over just seven days, with Sevilla the first target in their sights.
Read on for all the latest team news coming into Sunday’s La Liga head-to-head, complete with viewing information and a preview of Real’s must-win clash.
Date: Sunday, May 14
7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Live Stream: Sky Go app (UK), beIN Sports Connect (U.S.), fuboTV (U.S.)
TV Info: Sky Sports 3 (UK), beIN Sports 3 (U.S.)
|Real Madrid vs. Sevilla: Form Guide|
|Atletico Madrid 2-1 Real Madrid||Sevilla 1-1 Real Sociedad|
|Granada 0-4 Real Madrid||Malaga 4-2 Sevilla|
|Real Madrid 3-0 Atletico Madrid||Sevilla 2-1 Celta Vigo|
|Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia||Sevilla 2-0 Granada|
|Deportivo La Coruna 2-6 Real Madrid||Valencia 0-0 Sevilla|
Cristiano Ronaldo should return to Real’s La Liga XI this Sunday after being rested for the last two domestic outings, but it’s likely this weekend’s fixture falls too soon for Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal.
Right-back Carvajal was injured in the first leg of his side’s Champions League semi-final win over Atletico, and Squawka’s Muhammad Butt recently noted the June final in Cardiff seems a more realistic return date for him and Bale:
Muhammad Butt @muhammadbutt
Juventus will be praying that Carvajal doesn’t make it back for the Champions League Final, and also that Bale *DOES* make it back.
5/10/2017, 9:21:13 PM
The Welsh winger’s calf injury looks likely to keep him sidelined for the time being, and Bale isn’t likely to be rushed back ahead of the European showdown with Juve at the beginning of next month.
Meanwhile, Pepe has continued his recovery and could return at centre-back for manager Zinedine Zidane after ESPN FC’s Dermot Corrigan noted the progress he was making prior to Wednesday’s semi-final second leg:
Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan
Pepe and Varane both played full part in Madrid training this morning… good chance both in squad for Atletico tomorrow it seems…
5/9/2017, 11:00:17 AM
Sevilla’s main concerns lie in the full-back area with left-back Benoit Tremoulinas still missing after a ruptured meniscus on his left knee last season.
On the other flank, right-back Mariano is also struggling with a knee injury and could miss his third match in succession, with Sevilla having confirmed last month that the Brazilian was fighting to make his return.
Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images
With the prospect of becoming the first team ever to win back-to-back Champions League titles in June, Real should be wary that recent successes don’t distract them from the task at hand.
Los Blancos could be taking on a refreshed Sevilla side on Sunday, too, with a source from Sunday’s visiting team telling Toni Juanmarti of Catalan daily Sport: “Relaxed and with little tension. They’re not talking about going to die at the Bernabeu.”
A more relaxed Sevilla outfit could play into Real’s favour, but Sampaoli’s tactics threaten to unsettle the hosts’ hope of reclaiming a lead at La Liga’s summit if he can outwit managerial counterpart Zidane.
Sunday’s visitors already proved they can pose a problem for Los Merengues, too, after beating Real 2-1 at home back in January, and blogger Liam Canning labelled them as being among La Liga’s new hierarchy:
Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning
@5tephenTownsend Nope. Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao and Villarreal would pose problems for English teams.
5/12/2017, 3:37:32 PM
Sampaoli has done his bit to transform Sevilla back into European contenders during his maiden campaign with the club, and a win over Real on Sunday would bring good omens for the improvements still to come.
That being said, the travelling side risk losing it all at the Bernabeu if they make the trip with the sole effort of clinching the point they need to seal fourth place, while Real will be going all in for maximum spoils.