Real Madrid will look to recover from their Copa del Rey setback against Barcelona when they visit Real Betis in La Liga this weekend.
Madrid trail leaders Barca by seven points, and they need a victory to keep their chances alive in the title race.
Betis will prove to be a tough contender as they have been in impressive form of late. They are also pushing for a top-four spot.
After experiencing shaky form post the World Cup, Betis found their feet again with three consecutive wins, including the 3-2 chaotic victory against Elche last week.
As a result, they have moved to fifth in the table, two points behind Atletico Madrid.
Manuel Pellegrini has transformed Betis into one of the most exciting teams in Europe, helping them finish in European places in back-to-back seasons.
The Chilean manager has set his sights on a Champions League spot, and a remarkable outcome against Los Blancos this weekend would be a huge step forward in achieving the feat.
Despite their impressive form, the odds are slightly against Los Verdiblancos, who will have to cope without their key players Sergio Canales and Nabil Fekir, who have been sidelined with injuries.
January signing Ayoze Perez – on loan from Leicester City – is yet to open his account for Pellegrini’s side. He could be replaced by Borja Iglesias in the line-up.
Betis will look to keep their momentum intact as they will face Manchester United in the Europa League round of 16 after the Madrid clash.
Madrid’s previous league encounter ended in a draw against city rivals Atletico. But fortunately, it didn’t do much damage as Barcelona suffered a defeat against Almeria on the same matchday.
Los Blancos must put their recent Copa del Rey misery behind them and recover quickly to catch up with Barca in the title race when they travel to Benito Villamarin.
Changes are expected from Los Merengues, with Aurelien Tchouameni and Dani Ceballos likely to return to the starting XI against Betis.
Luka Modric has been ruled out of the contest, and any of Toni Kroos or Federico Valverde could get the nod in the Croatian’s absence.
Rodryo might start in the attack alongside Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema. The trio must step up to get a favourable result against Pellegrini’s men.
Real Betis vs Real Madrid Possible Line-ups
Real Betis (4-2-3-1): Claudio Bravo; Aitor Ruibal, German Pezella, Luiz Felipe, Abner Vinicius; William Carvalho, Andres Guardado; Juanmi, Rodri, Luiz Enrique; Borja Iglesias.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao, Antonio Rudiger, Nacho, Aurelien Tchouameni, Dani Ceballos, Federico Valverde, Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema.
How to watch?
Every La Liga game, including Real Betis vs Real Madrid, can be viewed online via live La Liga streams.
Real Betis vs Real Madrid prediction
Betis have conceded too many goals in their recent games, and Madrid will look to take advantage of their shaky defence. Despite being billed as a tough fixture, Ancelotti’s men are expected to overpower the hosts.
Real Betis 1-3 Real Madrid
- Man United ready mega bid for Tottenham striker Harry Kane
- Tottenham director Fabio Paratici opens up on Conte’s exit, plays down search for replacement
- England Under-21s: 5 players who could break into the first team for Euro 2024
- Arsenal and Brentford want Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Jesper Lindstrom
- Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan undecided about his future