Three keys to victory
- Survive the opening onslaught. In his Friday press conference, Diego Simeone predicted how el derbi would begin: Isco would start and the hosts would press intensely for the first 20-25 minutes. Thus, Simeone said his players rather quickly would have to take the match to where they feel more comfortable. Atlético Madrid, more than any other side, know what it is to win at the Santiago Bernabéu, what it entails and how to finish off a win. If Atleti are to win at Real Madrid for a fourth consecutive season, Cholo’s men will have to do what they didn’t do at the Vicente Calderón in November or at San Siro last May: get off to a better start. That means keeping Real Madrid off the board.
- Yannick Carrasco’s scoring boots. He’s gotta find them - or at the very least be an absolute terror racing down the left-hand side. The Belgian played well in wins over Sevilla and Real Sociedad, but he hasn’t found the net since Feb. 18 at Sporting Gijón. Carrasco’s scored just twice since the end of November, and he’s long overdue for a breakout game. He’s performed well in the derby since coming to Atlético - of course, he scored the equalizer in the Champions League final last year - and Saturday will be an important day for him.
- Stefan Savić must hold his own. I did the player ratings for the Nov. 19 derbi and gave Savić a 2. He was that bad. Cristiano Ronaldo eviscerated him over a very uncomfortable 90 minutes, and that can’t happen again on Saturday. The Montenegrin doesn’t have to be brilliant, but he cannot be a liability. His aggression - often the culprit when he gets in trouble - needs to be kept in check; he can’t lose his position as he has done.
Squad and predicted XI
Jan Oblak; Juanfran, Godín, Savić, Filipe Luís; Koke, Saúl, Carrasco; Griezmann, Torres.
How to watch
Location: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain
Kick-off time: 3:15 p.m. GMT/BST, 10:15 a.m. EST, 7:15 a.m. PST
SB Nation opposition blog: N/A (just kidding, it’s Managing Madrid)
Available TV/streaming: beIN LaLiga (Spain), beIN Sports 2 (France), DAZN (Germany), beIN Sports en Español, beIN Sports USA, fuboTV (United States)
For listings in other countries, check out livesoccertv.com.