Atletico are currently top of the table, five points clear of third-placed Real Madrid, while Diego Simeone’s side still have a game in hand over both Los Blancos and second-placed Barcelona.
Atletico have been excellent in La Liga this season, winning 18, drawing four and losing just two of their 24 matches to collect 58 points, which has left them in a strong position at the top of the table.
As mentioned, Simeone’s side have a five-point advantage over both second-placed Barca and third-placed Real Madrid and also have a game in hand over the two sides, which could prove decisive.
Atletico actually had a wobble in the league between February 8 and February 20 as they won just one of their four matches, suffering a shock 2-0 home defeat to Levante in their last match at Wanda Metropolitano.
The capital giants returned to winning ways in impressive fashion last weekend, though, as an own goal from Alfonso Pedraza and second-half Joao Felix effort saw them record a 2-0 victory away to Villarreal.
The Red and Whites are bidding to win their 11th La Liga title and first since 2013-14, and there is no question that they have been the best side that Spain’s top flight has to offer this season.
Simeone’s side are the second-highest goalscorers behind Barca, netting 47 times in their 24 matches, with 16 of those coming from Luis Suarez, who has proved to be an inspired signing for the club.
Defensively, meanwhile, Atletico have again been excellent, conceding just 16 times, which is unsurprisingly the best record in Spain’s top flight ahead of Sevilla, who have shipped just 18 goals.
The 10-time Spanish champions are in charge of the title race, but it would be fair to say that they have work to do in the Champions League, having suffered a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
A win for the home side in this game might well end Real Madrid’s hopes of retaining the title, but a draw or a defeat would certainly open the door for Los Blancos, while Barca, who travel to Osasuna on Saturday night, will also believe that they are capable of catching Atletico in the coming weeks.
Real Madrid, as mentioned, currently occupy third position in the table, having picked up 53 points from their 25 matches this season courtesy of 16 wins and five draws.
Zinedine Zidane’s side have struggled during periods of the season and will enter this match off the back of a 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad on March 1; Portu’s 55th-minute goal looked to be securing all three points for the visitors, only for Vinicius Junior to level the scores in the 89th minute.
Los Blancos are in good form, though, winning five of their last six in all competitions, including four of their last five in Spain’s top flight to pull themselves into the title picture at this stage.
The Spanish champions are also in a strong position to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League, having recorded a 1-0 win over Atalanta BC in the first leg of their last-16 tie on February 24.
Injuries have been a big problem for Real Madrid in recent weeks, but they have managed to negotiate through a difficult period with an impressive set of results, and a relatively kind run of matches will see them face Elche, Celta Vigo and Eibar in their next three league encounters after this one.
The club are struggling due to the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak, and it is difficult to imagine them having the funds to sign a Erling Braut Haaland or a Kylian Mbappe this summer.
Eden Hazard is again on the sidelines through injury, and there is no getting away from the fact that the Belgium international has struggled since his big-money move from Chelsea; Karim Benzema has contributed 12 league goals this season, but the Frenchman is battling to be available for this contest.
Real Madrid’s away form this season will certainly give them reasons to be optimistic, having picked up 28 points from their 13 matches, suffering just one defeat. However, Atletico have the best home record with 29 points from 12 games and will be looking to inflict a huge blow on their bitter rivals.
Atletico Madrid La Liga form:WDWDLW
Atletico Madrid form (all competitions):DWDLLW
Real Madrid La Liga form:LWWWWD
Real Madrid form (all competitions):WWWWWD