Real Madrid and Granada will take to the field at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday in search of the first victory of their respective League campaigns.
Real Madrid’s collective confidence has been restored after coming from behind to defeat Barcelona in the Super Cup over two legs in midweek. An opening day draw with Valencia and a shocking loss to Getafe last weekend had left the club in crisis mode. The current La Liga champions trail their Catalan rivals by five points and will be desperate to defeat Granada.
Los Blancos Coach Jose Mourinho could hand new signing Luka Modric a first start, allowing Xavi Alonso to rest from Wednesday’s excursion. Karim Benzema is also expected to replace Gonzalo Higuain, despite the Argentine international opening the scoring against Tito Vilanova’s side. Pepe will make his League return after suffering a head injury on the opening day.
Granada currently sit level on points with Madrid, and will be optimistic they can pick up their very first win of the season. A disappointing defeat at the hands of newly promoted Deportivo La Coruna and a stalemate with Sevilla last weekend leaves them in a precarious position. Anything but a point at the Bernabeu could see them slip into the relegation zone.
Talismanic winger Gabriel Torje should play from the onset against Mourinho’s side and former Udinese teammate Antonio Floro Flores will be vital upfront. Otherwise Boss Juan Antonio Anquela will field a largely unchanged line up from their previous outing.
Keep an eye on: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – The Portuguese forward is yet to get off the mark in La Liga, and has allowed rival Lionel Messi to build up a concrete lead in the Pichichi award. Madrid need Ronaldo to return to his unstoppable form, and his goal in midweek could trigger that.
Kick-off time: Sunday September 12, 6.50pm (UK Time)
Form guide: Real Madrid ( – – -D L) Granada ( – – -L D)
Last season: Real Madrid 5-1 Granada
Stat fact: There have been two red cards in Real Madrid and Granada last two games.
Real Madrid (probable): Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Xavi Alonso, Khedira; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo, Benzema
Granada (probable): Roberto; Nyom, Lopez, Gomez, Siqueira; Rico, Iriney; Torje, El-Arabi, Orellana; Floro Flores