Table toppers Real Madrid are all set to host Girona at the Santiago Bernabeu in what could be a potential title decider.

Real Madrid had the opportunity to extend their lead at the top as Girona had dropped points last time out. But, Los Blancos failed to make the best out of it and the difference between the two teams remains only two points, a win for either team in this fixture could prove pivotal in the title race.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men have only lost once in the league this season. That defeat came at the hands of Atletico Madrid quite a few months ago. They have won 18 out of their 23 matches and sit comfortably at the top of the points table.

Real Madrid were on a six-match winning streak heading into the reverse fixture against city rivals Atletico Madrid last time out. The team in white were not clinical enough, they had their opportunities and could have gone four points clear of Girona but they ended up playing a draw and the difference remains two.

The visitors have had an incredible season so far, no one expected them to fight for the title at this stage. Even a top-four finish will be considered a great achievement for them but they have a chance to fight for the La Liga title and they are pushing for it.

Girona have also lost only once this season, that defeat came at the hands of Real Madrid earlier in the season. They are two points behind the league leaders and this fixture could help them reclaim the top spot. But, they are heading into this fixture on the back of a 0-0 draw against Real Sociedad and will have to put up a much better performance if they want to win against Carlo Ancelotti’s team.

Meanwhile, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams and tries to predict the tactics they could put to use.

Team News & Tactics

Real Madrid

Real Madrid are in all sorts of trouble as they could be heading into this fixture without any of their regular centre-backs.

Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao and David Alaba are already out injured and Nacho has joined them on the sidelines. Meanwhile, there are doubts over the availability of Antonio Rudiger and Vinicius Junior for this fixture because of a thigh problem. They do have a boost as Aurelien Tchouameni is back after serving a suspension.

Ancelotti will stick to the 4-4-2 formation where Andriy Lunin will feature in goal. Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy should be the full-backs for this fixture. If Rudiger is back in time he will line up with Tchouameni in the heart of the defence.

If Rudiger isn’t available Ferland Mendy could be shifted into the central role and we might have Fran Garcia take charge at left-back.

Toni Kroos will be the holding midfielder and he will have the support of Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde. The trio will look to control the ball possession and dictate the pace of the game.

Jude Bellingham will be the attacking midfielder behind the attacking duo of Brahim Diaz and Rodrygo Goes, if Vinicius is back fit in time, he will most likely come off the bench.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Tchouameni, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Camavinga; Bellingham; Rodrygo, Diaz

Real Madrid vs Girona Predicted XI


While Real Madrid have injuries to deal with, Girona have suspensions to deal with. They appealed to get the suspension of their head coach Michel, Daley Blind and Yangel Herrera dismissed. But unfortunately, that hasn’t gone according to plan and the trio will not be present for this fixture.

Michel won’t be available on the touchline and will most probably have to watch it from the stands.

They also have a few injuries to take care of as Juan Carlos, David Lopez, Joel Roca and Toni Villa are all out injured. Meanwhile, they do have a huge boost as their top scorer Artem Dovbyk is all set to overcome an injury in time for this clash.

The visitors will go ahead with the 4-3-3 formation where Paulo Gazzaniga will be in goal. Yan Couto and Miguel Gutierrez should feature out wide as the full-backs. With Blind unavailable Arnau Martinez will start alongside Eric Garcia in the heart of the defence.

Pablo Torre will feature in the centre of the park alongside Aleix Garcia and Ivan Martin. The trio will look to ensure they do not allow Real Madrid midfielders to boss the game.

As far as the attack is concerned, Viktor Tsyhankov and Savio will feature on the flanks. The duo have been in incredible form and they will look to carry on in similar fashion. Meanwhile, Dovbyk will be leading the line and will be eager to get his name on the score sheet against one of the best teams in world football.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Gazzaniga; Couto, E Garcia, A Martinez, Gutierrez; Torre, A Garcia, Martin; Tsyhankov, Dovbyk, Savio

Real Madrid vs Girona Predicted XI

Key Stats

  • In the previous nine meetings between the two teams, Real Madrid have won five fixtures while Girona only have three wins to their name.
  • Last time when the two teams met, Los Blancos came out on top with ease (3-0).
  • Real Madrid have the best defence in the league having conceded just 15 goals so far.
  • Girona have the best attack as they have scored 52 goals in 23 outings.
  • The team in white are the second-highest-scoring team in the division with 48 goals.

Player to Watch

Federico Valverde

Embed from Getty Images

Valverde has been doing wonders for Real Madrid over the years. While he has not scored as many goals as he did last season because of the change in formation and his role, he still has a huge role in the end result of a fixture.

Given the number of injuries that Los Blancos are battling with at this point in time and the importance of this fixture, Carlo Ancelotti will expect that the 25-year-old steps up and produces his best to help them win all three points.


Real Madrid 2-1 Girona

Both teams are heading into this fixture on the back of a draw, they will be eager to return to winning ways but it won’t be easy for either of them given the number of injuries and suspensions they have.

Given the kind of depth Real Madrid have in their ranks, they might just have the edge over the visitors. It will be a closely fought encounter but eventually, Los Blancos might come out on top.T he Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for the home team.

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