Upon his return to the Bernanbeu dugout, all eyes will be on Zidane this Saturday as Real Madrid host Celta Vigo for their Matchday 28 clash.
Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, have seen their five-match winning streak ended in midweek UCL exit in Turin no thanks to Ronaldo’s extraordinariness – and they will hope to recover quickly and bounce back to winning ways when they visit San Memes
Barca will launch a revenge bid when they visit Real Betis – a side that snatched a thriller 3-4 win on their trip to Camp Nou earlier this term.
Here is APRECON’s build-up to Matchday 28 of the Spanish top tier division;
Date: Saturday, 16th March
Kick-off: 4:15pm CET
Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid have struggled for stability on home ground and even away from home – crashing out of Copa del Rey, Champions League, and lagging huge 12 points behind La Liga pace-setters Barcelona. It has been a somewhat nightmarish campaign for the Spanish powerhouse.
Their last weekend’s 1-4 victory at Real Valladolid signalled the end of Santiago Solari as the Los Blancos opted to bring back ex-manager Zinedine Zidane to calm their troubling sea.
All eyes will be on Zidane this Saturday as the Real Madrid legend makes a return to the Bernabeu hot-seat. His return should lift some of the gloom hanging over the club and it’s most likely bad news for struggling Celta Vigo who are battling just to stay in La Liga.
Having been hammered 4-2 earlier this season on home ground by same opposition, Celta Vigo come into this match struggling for points to record a second win since early December.
Up against a Celta Vigo side that has the league’s 3rd worst defensive record with 1.67 goals per game conceded, Real Madrid could take full advantage and claim a convincing win on Zidane’s return.
Date: Saturday, 16th March
Kick-off: 6:30pm CET
Stadium: San Mames
Atletico Madrid travel to Bilbao for their Matchday 28 clash on Saturday, just days after seeing a Champions League exit in the hands of Juventus (3-0) – where the Old Lady of Turin overturned their two-goal advantage as Cristiano Ronaldo completed a tremendous hat-trick to leave the Madrid side biting their own fingers.
Atleti have thus seen their five-match winning streak across competitions ended and Diego Simeone will now be looking for a quick fix, as his men keep up with pace-setters Barcelona with wins over Rayo Vallecano (0-1), Villarreal (2-0), Real Sociedad (0-2), and Leganes (1-0) in La Liga in the past weeks.
Athletic Bilbao, meanwhile, will have plans of their own in search of ways to capitalise on the rivals woes, but they’ve seen a couple of troubled displays of recent as well. They’ve seen Valencia bag the points in a 2-0 loss at Mestalla and only held Espanyol to a 1-1 draw.
Atletico earlier defeated Bilbao this season at Wanda Metropolitano and Diego Simeone’s men will not hold back to use this tie to recuperate quickly from their recent downfall by snatching all points at San Memes.
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Date: Sunday, 17th March
Kick-off: 8:45pm CET
Stadium: Estadio Benito Villamarin
Barcelona travel to Seville for their Matchday 28 clash at Real Betis on the back of a 5-1 win over Lyon in Champions League and a streak where they bagged five wins in six outings.
The Blaugrana sit seven points in the clear at the top of the table and we should now see them very motivated to build on such a streak, despite some struggles for consistency on the road. Still, Ernesto Valverde’s men have bagged three away wins in a row since late February and building on such spirits will be crucial.
Real Betis lag just a point behind La Liga’s top 6 and have just as much to play for on the day, having ended a two-match losing streak with a narrow 0-1 win at Celta Vigo. However, their struggles to keep it together at the back here will be more worrying especially when they have earlier caused upset on Barcelona home ground – claiming victory in a 3-4 thriller.
Indeed, Beticos have last seen a home win in early February and saw Valencia (2-2), Alaves (1-1), Rennes (1-3), and Getafe (1-2) all snatch important results at Benito Villamarin.
The truth is, Real Betis will need more luck to shut down in-form Barcelona who will be all out to launch a revenge bid for a loss suffered to Betis at Camp Nou earlier this term.