Sevilla host Real Madrid in a meeting between two of La Liga’s leading trio on Sunday evening.
For 14 consecutive weeks, Sevilla hovered behind Real Madrid in second place. However, the gap between the clubs grew ever wider as Sevilla won just of their last 11 league games, finally allowing Barcelona to skip above them at the start of April.
Madrid moved into top spot with a win over Sevilla’s rivals Real Betis in August and have held that lofty position at the end of each week ever since.
Here’s all you need to know about a meeting between the fading challengers and comfortable leaders.
When is kick off? Sunday 17 April, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan
TV channel/live stream? Premier Sports 2, LaLigaTV (UK), ESPN+ (US), TSN (Canada)
Highlights? La Liga YouTube
Referee? Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez
VAR? Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva
Sevilla’s glut of injuries has eased in recent weeks but they are still without the supremely influential defensive presence of midfielder Fernando, who has been sidelined since March with an ankle injury.
Suso has also been suffering from a problem in the same area since November. The versatile defender Karim Rekik has made a swift return to the treatment table after picking up a muscular injury against Barcelona a fortnight ago following seven weeks on the sidelines.
Midfielder Thomas Delaney is also a doubt with a calf problem.
The most notable absentee for Madrid has been sidelined by suspension rather than fitness concerns as Casemiro earned a tenth yellow card of the season against Getafe last weekend.
Isco may have recovered from a back problem to fill out the bench but Eden Hazard’s involvement – which has been limited for the entirety of his spell in Spain – is in doubt after undergoing surgery on his troublesome ankle in March.
Nacho Fernandez was forced off towards the closing stages of Madrid’s thrilling Champions League tie against Chelsea but Eder Militao – who was serving a European suspension in midweek – has been first-choice all season.
Julen Lopetegui will know all too well the feeling Thomas Tuchel and his Chelsea side endured as they exited the Champions League in dramatic fashion at the hands of Real Madrid on Tuesday night.
Lopetegui’s Sevilla took the lead against Madrid at the Bernabeu in November but eventually fell to a Vinicius Junior winner, leading the manager to observe post-game: “When you have your foot up against Madrid’s throat you have to keep pressing. If you ease off, this happens.”
Against an ageing Madrid side after two hours of energy-sapping football in midweek, Sevilla have the chance to get their foot in position again. However, they may have to settle for a share of the spoils given their own inadequacies of late.
Prediction: Sevilla 1-1 Real Madrid