The Copa del Rey quarter-finals take center stage this week, and all eyes will be on Madrid where Atletico will take on Real.
Atletcio, who reached the final last season, come in the game on short rest after getting hammered 4-1 by Hercules on Monday night. They need to bounce back quickly as Jose Mourinho is looking to win his first trophy at Real, a trophy that they surprisingly have not won in 18 years.
Real Madrid have won 22 of 28 matches in all competitions and they have not lost home or away to cross-town rivals Atletico since 1999. Ronaldo has already scored 30 goals this season and with the first leg of the derby to be played at the Bernabeu, Atletico has a steep mountain to climb to stop Real notching their 188 consecutive home victiory.
Also on Thursday, Almeria take on Deportivo La Coruna clash at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos. Almeria have never reached this stage of the cup before and it will be a major shock if they progress to the semi-finals.
Barcelona have been brilliant this season winning 21 of their last 26 matches whilst drawing the other five. They have six players who were named in FIFA’s world XI for 2010, plus the FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi. Betis, the only non-top-flight team left in the competition, are four points clear at the top of the second division standings and knocked out Getafe in the previous round of the cup.
Confidence is also on the up at Betis’ city rivals Sevilla, who make the trip to Villarreal on the back of a four-match winning streak, having lost six and drawn the other of their previous seven games.
Sevilla however will be without striker Luis Fabiano, who has a muscle injury. When the two clubs met at El Madrigal just over a month ago Villarreal was somewhat fortunate to win 1-0 on a Nilmar goal, set up by Rossi. Villarreal will settle for a similar result tonight.