Sevilla host Real Madrid in a meeting between two of La Liga’s main trios on Sunday night.
For 14 consecutive weeks, Sevilla hovered behind Real Madrid in second place. However, the gap between the clubs has widened further and further as Sevilla have won only their last 11 league matches, eventually allowing Barcelona to leapfrog them in early April.
Madrid rose to first place with a win over Sevilla rivals Real Betis in August and have retained that lofty position at the end of every week since.
Here’s everything you need to know about a meeting between fading challengers and comfortable leaders.
When is the kick off? Sunday 17 April, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the game played? Ramon Stadium Sanchez Pizjuan
TV channel/live broadcast? Premier Sports 2, LaLigaTV (UK), ESPN+ (US), TSN (Canada)
Strong points? The YouTube League
Arbitrator? Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez
VAR? Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva
Sevilla’s injury glut has eased in recent weeks, but they are still without the hugely influential defensive presence of midfielder Fernando, who has been out since March with an ankle injury.
Suso has also been suffering from a problem in the same area since November. Versatile defender Karim Rekik has made a quick return to the treatment table after picking up a muscle injury against Barcelona a fortnight ago after seven weeks out.
Midfielder Thomas Delaney is also doubtful with a calf problem.
Madrid’s most notable absentee was sidelined by suspension rather than fitness issues as Casemiro picked up 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 throughout his spell in Spain – is in doubt after suffering a inconvenient ankle surgery in March.
Nacho Fernandez was forced into the knockout stages of Madrid’s thrilling Champions League encounter against Chelsea, but Eder Militao – who was serving a European suspension midweek – has been first choice all season.
Julen Lopetegui knows all too well the feeling Thomas Tuchel and his Chelsea side endured as they left 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-match: “When you have your foot against Madrid’s throat, you have to keep pressing in. If you relax, it happens.
Against an aging Madrid side after two hours of grueling midweek football, Sevilla have the chance to get back into position. However, they may have to settle for a share of the spoils given their own shortcomings lately.
Prediction: Sevilla 1-1 Real Madrid