|Jesus Navas celebrates during Sevilla’s 2-1 victory over Real in October [GALLO/GETTY]|
Sevilla are hoping to extend their good form in Spain’s Primera Division this weekend when they travel to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in the hope of breaking Real Madrid’s perfect home record.
Second-placed Real have won every game in front of their own fans, conceding only eight times and racking up an intimidating 41 goals.
Fourth-place Sevilla have fallen 18 points off leaders Barcelona after looking like a title contender early in the season.
However, the Andalusians have a good head-to-head record against Real, winning seven of their last 11 games. The most recent match was in the league in October, when Real lost 2-1 at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, their first defeat of the season.
Brazilian midfielder Renato, who has a history of scoring against Real, netted the winner that day and is confident his side can complete a double over their illustrious opponents.
“We’ve seen some of their games when they haven’t played that well but they have won,” he said.
“The key is to take our chances because they don’t let you off the hook; they have one or two chances and they score. We have to attack and hurt them.”
“We have to make Real suffer and show what we are capable of doing.”
Wingers Jesus Navas, Diego Perotti, and Diego Capel carry Sevilla’s threat down the flanks, and it looks likely former Real Madrid striker Alvaro Negredo will lead the line.
Brazil’s Luis Fabiano has been suffering with a chest injury while Mali’s Frederic Kanoute has struggled of late.
Sevilla face a tough task. Manuel Pellegrini’s Real have crushed recent rivals in the league with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain in devastating form.
Real are on a six-game winning run during which they have scored 22 goals and conceded four, leaving them on 59 points, two behind Barcelona.
Saturday March 6
Sunday 7 March
Athletic Bilbao v Valladolid
Monday March 8
With Real’s Spanish players making up much of the national team, they will be in high spirits following Wednesday’s 2-0 win against France in a World Cup warm-up in Paris.
Madrid defender Sergio Ramos scored Spain’s second goal.
Real will also have one eye on next week’s Champions League visit of Olympique Lyon, when they need to overturn a 1-0 first leg defeat.
Atletico Madrid visit Real Zaragoza on Sunday and will be hoping for a strong performance. Quique Sanchez Flores’ side have crashed to defeats to Malaga and Almeria, yet victory against Barcelona and last weekend’s 4-1 rout of Valencia suggested the corner might have been turned.
“The team is good. We’re playing well, we’re organised and the good results give you confidence to go out and play better,” said defender Tomas Ujfalusi.
“In recent games we’ve shown we can play anyone and beat them.”
That seems to be the case when Atletico’s first-choice strikers, Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan, are playing. Forlan has 12 league goals and Aguero nine and the team look a different prospect when both are available, as they are expected to be against Zaragoza.
Atletico lie 11th in the standings on 30 points. Zaragoza are 17th on 24 points.
Leaders Barcelona visit 13th-place Almeria on Saturday seeking to build on home wins against Racing Santander and Malaga, following their only league loss of the season so far – to Atletico.