Apr 14, 2015

    Atletico and Real in good shape for today's clash


    LAST season's Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid will meet for the seventh time this season in today's quarter-final first leg with revenge in mind for both.

    Real took the spoils in Lisbon last May, as Sergio Ramos' stoppage-time header denied Atletico their first European Cup and sent the game into extra time, with Los Blancos romping to a 4-1 win.

    However, the tables have been turned this season, as Atletico have won four and drawn two of the six meetings.

    That run has included two aggregate victories over two legs in the Spanish Supercup and the Copa del Rey.

    Yet, it was their last encounter in La Liga in February that was the most embarrassing for Real, as Atletico romped to their biggest victory in a Madrid derby for 28 years with a 4-0 rout.

    "The last result against Atletico is a motivating factor for us," said Real manager Carlo Ancelotti. "It will be a different game, but difficult as it always is against Atletico.

    "We come into the game in good form, we are motivated and we will give everything we have.

    "I don't have any doubt that it will be an intense game."

    However, unlike that most recent meeting at the Vicente Calderon, when they were without five first-team regulars, Real are at full strength for the first time in five months.

    James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos return from suspension after missing Saturday's 3-0 win over Eibar, which moved Real back to within two points of Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

    Meanwhile, Gareth Bale returned to training on Sunday and is expected to be fit to start.

    Atletico have received a huge injury boost of their own, with news that Mario Mandzukic will be available after overcoming an ankle problem which had kept him out of their last two games.

    The Croatian has scored 20 goals since signing from Bayern Munich last summer, including two in three games against Real at the Calderon.

    Raul Garcia is also expected to recover from an elbow problem, meaning Diego Simeone will also have a fully fit squad to choose from.