Real Madrid vs Atlético de Madrid: Madrid Derby Returns To Santiago Bernabéu

Reigning champions Atleti will be looking to end a run of 10 LaLiga Santander matches against Real Madrid without a win.

LaLiga Santander is bracing itself for one of the biggest matches in world football this weekend, a fixture which always throws up drama, passion, goals, and controversy: Real Madrid vs Atletico de Madrid, the Madrid Derby. This weekend should be no different.

The Madrid Derby has always been a huge fixture for fans in Spain’s capital, but over the past decade it has also become a perennially important fixture in the title race. Last season, in fact, these two teams battled for the LaLiga Santander title until the final matchday, with Atleti edging their city rivals to lift the trophy. Real Madrid lead the table now, though, holding a 10-point gap over Los Colchoneros. Even though Atleti have a game in hand, they’ll be determined to win this six-pointer.

Both clubs come into the Madrid Derby with some momentum after good midweek results in the Champions League. Real Madrid defeated Inter 2-0 to clinch top spot in their group, while Atlético won a dramatic encounter 3-1 in Porto to book their place in the last 16 too. After these midweek exploits on the continent their attentions now switch back to domestic action, and Atleti prepare to travel the 8 kilometres from the Wanda Metropolitano to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Tactically, this should be an interesting duel. Atlético’s more attacking style goes up against Real Madrid’s solid defence, where David Alaba and Éder Militão are in outstanding form. Luis Suárez is set to miss out with injury, but Matheus Cunha is performing well and Antoine Griezmann, Ángel Correa and João Félix are a constant goalscoring threat too. Real Madrid will look to Vinícius to continue his fine form; the Brazilian has terrorised full-backs all season long and is LaLiga Santander’s second top-scorer.

This will be Diego Simeone’s 35th Madrid Derby as coach and he’ll face a familiar foe in Carlo Ancelotti. The Italian won the 2014 Champions League final against El Cholo, while the last time these two coaches met in LaLiga Santander Atleti won 4-0, although this was a long time ago, so long ago that the match took place at the now-demolished Vicente Calderón.

Real Madrid’s good recent record

Real Madrid’s recent results in the Madrid Derby have been positive; they haven’t lost any of the past 10 league meetings against their city rivals. Over that run, there have been six draws and four Real Madrid wins.  

In the past five seasons, Atlético have won just one Madrid Derby, yet that was for a trophy as they defeated Los Blancos 4-2 after extra time in a thrilling back-and-forth duel for the 2018 UEFA Super Cup.

One player to watch with a good individual record in the Madrid Derby is Antoine Griezmann, who scored at least one league goal against Real Madrid in each of his previous five seasons with Atlético. Now back with Los Colchoneros, the Frenchman will hope to earn another good Madrid Derby result.

The Bernabéu’s first Madrid Derby in 22 months

There should be a scintillating atmosphere at the Bernabéu for this Madrid Derby, with this the first time Real Madrid and Atlético will meet at this stadium since February 1st 2020, just before the start of the COVID pandemic.

Last season, playing at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano at Valdebebas, Real Madrid won their home Madrid Derby 2-0 thanks to a Casemiro header and a Jan Oblak own goal, but now this fixture will be back at the Bernabéu and in front of fans, as it is supposed to be.

The fans at Real Madrid are in high spirits, with their team on an eight-match winning streak in all competitions including recent home wins over Sevilla, Athletic and Inter, and will hope for another three points this Sunday night. But Atlético will also be backed by some visiting supporters to produce an intense derby atmosphere as football fans around the world tune in.