Will three home games in a week in LaLiga and the Copa del Rey define Real Madrid’s season?
Real Madrid are gearing up for three huge home games in a week, which include a Copa del Rey derby against Atlético Madrid.
One week, three huge games. Real Madrid will finish this month and start the next one by playing three games in row at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu across LaLiga and the Copa del Rey, which could play a big part in deciding whether or not their season is deemed a successful one come May. Los Blancos will face Atlético Madrid, Real Sociedad and Valencia before travelling to Mallorca in the four matches which immediately precede their trip to the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco, where they will face either Al Ahly, Auckland City or Seattle Sounders in the semi-finals and will expect to take on one of Flamengo, Al Hilal or Wydad Casablanca in the final.
Who do Real Madrid play in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals?
Thursday’s match against Atlético Madrid is undoubtedly the most important of the three home games. The derby will be the first game played at the Santiago Bernabéu in 77 days, following Real Madrid’s clash with Cádiz in November. Carlo Ancelotti’s side are playing for a place in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, a competition they have not won since 2014, when they defeated Barcelona 2-1 in the final in the Italian’s first spell in charge of the club.
The clash against Atleti will be another test to see if they are indeed back on track after their Spanish Super Cup final defeat to Barça and their woeful first-half showing against Villarreal in the previous round of the Copa del Rey. Los Blancos trailed 2-0 at half-time but scored three goals in a tremendous second-half performance before following up with a fine victory away to Athletic Club at San Mamés three days later. Diego Simeone’s side are on a good run of form having lost just one of their last eight games in all competitions and will provide a stern test.
Three days later, Madrid will be faced with another tough challenge against Real Sociedad, who are third in La Liga and are unbeaten in 10 matches (one draw followed by nine consecutive wins in league and cup). With Barcelona three points clear at the top of the table, Ancelotti’s charges cannot afford a slip-up, which could prove fatal as they look to defend their title.
When is the FIFA Club World Cup?
Real Madrid will then round off the week with another home fixture next Thursday against Valencia in a rearranged LaLiga game. The clash was originally scheduled for the week of the Spanish Super Cup; coincidentally, the two clubs faced each other in that competition in Saudi Arabia instead. Los Blancos are on their travels after that, visiting Real Mallorca on Sunday 5 February, which will be followed by another week-long break from domestic action, with a trip to Morocco for the World Club Cup. Their semi-final match-up will be played on Wednesday 8 February in Rabat, with the final – should they get there (or not) – to be played on Saturday 11 February.