Real Madrid vs Eibar: The very concept of being overshadowed by Barcelona is anathema to Real Madrid, but Los Blancos must be grateful their arch-rivals have stolen the limelight over the last two weeks.
Barcelona’s wobble—a defeat away at Levante and a goalless draw at home against Slavia Prague in the Champions League—has allowed Real to regroup and overcome its own mini-crisis.
Such is the nature of expectations around Real Madrid that a loss to Mallorca three weeks ago was interpreted in some quarters as a sign all was not well in the Spanish capital, despite the fact it was Real’s first reverse of the season.
A series of unconvincing performances after a tumultuous summer only heightened the feeling Madrid was a team in transition.
The loss in the Balearic Islands now looks more like a minor scratch on Real’s armor, rather than the first of many significant chinks.
Zinedine Zidane’s men won three of their following four games in all competitions, scoring a combined 12 goals in the process without conceding.
Half of those goals came on Wednesday, as Real thrashed Galatasaray 6-0 in the Champions League to consolidate second place in Group A, behind Paris Saint-Germain.
Brazilian forward Rodrygo stole the show, becoming the second-youngest player in Champions League history to score a hat-trick, behind Real Madrid legend Raul.
One of the signings that arrived in the Spanish capital this summer as Real spent over $300 million on players, the 18-year-old Brazilian has scored five times in his first six appearances in all competitions.
“He doesn’t surprise me,” Zidane said in his press conference after the game.
“He has a bit of everything. He is intelligent, he learns very fast and wants to learn and improve.
“Physically he has to get better but technically, he knows how to do everything with the ball.”
Last week’s 0-0 draw at home against Real Betis saw Madrid squander the chance to leapfrog Barcelona at the top of the table and the two arch-rivals now share the lead of La Liga with Real Sociedad—who has played a game more.
Madrid, however, could temporarily overtake Barcelona with a win away at Eibar on Saturday, as the Catalans will not be in action until 4 p.m. ET, while Real kicks off at 12:30 p.m. ET.
A two-game winning run is a timely reminder Eibar shouldn’t be underestimated, but the omens are positive for the 13-time European Cup winners, who have won eight of their previous 10 meetings against their opponents on Saturday.
Zidane, however, may want to overlook the most recent trip to Eibar, which ended in a 3-0 defeat last season.
Here’s all you need to know ahead of Saturday.
When and where is the game?
Eibar hosts Real Madrid at the Ipurua Municipal Stadium in Eibar, on Saturday, November 9, with kick-off scheduled for 6:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. ET).
The two teams have met 10 times, with Real Madrid winning on eight occasions. Eibar, however, secured a first win over Los Blancos with a 3-0 thrashing in the corresponding fixture a year ago.
The game will be broadcast live on beIN SPORTS.
A live stream will be available via beIN Sports website and beIN Sports’ digital platforms, as well as fuboTV.
Real Madrid missed the chance to leapfrog Barcelona at the top of the table last week, as it drew 0-0 with Real Betis at home to draw level with their arch-rivals.
Los Blancos thrashed Galatasaray 6-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday, taking another step towards the round of 16.
Eibar, meanwhile, is 14th and has won its last two consecutive games.
Real Madrid will be without long-term absentees Nacho and Marco Asensio, while Gareth Bale remains in doubt as he continues to recover from a calf injury he sustained during the last international break.
According to Oddschecker, Real Madrid is a 31/50 favorite, while Eibar is a 23/5 underdog and the draw is at 33/10.