Atlético will seek to keep their unbeaten record at home intact in La Liga play when they host Real Madrid on Sunday.
Kick-off at the Vicente Calderón — where attendance is expected to top off — is set for 17:00 CET.
The first time Atleti squared off against Real Madrid in the present campaign, the men in red and white firmly established themselves as the kings of the Spanish capital.
Only four months after ending a 14-year derby drought in legendary fashion at the Bernabéu by lifting the Copa del Rey on enemy territory, Atleti shut out their crosstown foes 1-0–another triumph at the Blanco stronghold.
But, the Merengues avenged themselves a month ago–trouncing Atlético in Copa del Rey action 3-0 at their own grounds, and then by a score of 2-0 at the Calderón.
Atleti’s fortunes have obviously turned of late.
They come into this clash on the back of shameful defeat in Pamplona–where they were hammered 3-0 by lowly Osasuna.
The match resulted in los Colchoneros’ fourth loss of February, a month that saw Diego Simeone’s men bag only three wins in all competitions.
Nevertheless, Sunday’s massive Derbi Madrileño will offer Atleti a chance to surpass league-leaders Real on the Primera División table.
A victory by any margin would grant Atlético a better head-to-head record against Ancelotti’s charges.
But, if Barcelona are triumphant at home against Almería later Sunday night, they would supersede us at the top should we beat our eternal rivals.
Since dropping two points at the San Mamés a month ago, Real have gone on a torrid stretch of victories.
They enter this encounter having won six consecutive matches–a streak that has seen them average over three goals a game.
Real obliterated Schalke 6-1 in Gelsenkirchen at the midweek in Champions League play, with Cristiano–who returns to La Liga after a three-match ban, Benzema and Gareth Bale all taking home braces.
Meanwhile, Atleti had seven days to prepare for this engagement.
“We’ve had this week to work and, obviously, as the days go by, the pain goes away and the hope and excitement returns,” Simeone said on Saturday.
“When the league campaign started, we would have paid to be in this situation in March, of being just three points behind first place, and that’s the situation we find ourselves in.”
He continued, analysing our opponents: “They put together a good game [in the Champions League]. They come into this match after a triumph of that nature and as the lone leaders.
“They’re in a great moment and come into this match in the best way possible and as a team feared greatly throughout all of Europe.
“We eagerly await this game.”
Javi Manquillo and Tiago remain sidelined with their respective injuries. ‘Cholo’ called up everyone else.
Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Aranzubia
Defenders: Godín, Miranda, Juanfran, Filipe, Giménez, Insua, Alderweireld
Midfielders: Koke, Gabi, Sosa, Arda, Mario, Diego, Cebolla, The Real Raúl
Forwards: Adrián, Costa, Villa