Real Madrid vs Girona
Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is the venue as Real Madrid and Girona square off in a potentially title-deciding La Liga encounter.
Despite being pegged back late in a nail-biting 1-1 draw against fierce cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid in last weekend’s derby, Real Madrid maintained their position at the top of the La Liga table, sitting just two points clear of second-placed Granada. But as the only side to have defeated the Catalan outfit in top-flight action this season, ‘Los Merengues’ are confident of returning to winning ways, especially considering their formidable league form on home turf. Unbeaten in 16 consecutive home league outings (W13, D3) since losing to Villarreal last April, Carlo Ancelotti’s men head into proceedings determined to tip an evenly-balanced H2H league record (W3, D1, L3) into their favor. To achieve that feat, Madrid must arrest a two-match winless home league run against high-flying Girona (D1, L1).
However, it’s not all rosy around the visiting camp after a frustrating 0-0 home draw against Real Sociedad last weekend saw head coach Michel Sanchez sent off for lashing out at match officials. Michel’s suspension could throw a spanner in the works as ‘Los Blanquivermells’ bid to defy their indifferent three-game form on hostile turf in all competitions (W1, D1, L1) and stay within striking distance of a first-ever top-flight title. Girona can draw confidence from their superb form in away league action as they come into this round as one of only two sides alongside Barcelona yet to lose a La Liga fixture on the road (W8, D3). As if that’s not inspiring enough, they’ve bagged a league joint-high average of two goals per league travel in 2023/24 despite netting under 1.5 on their last three La Liga trips.