Everything you need to know ahead of Los Blancos’ clash at El Molinon in La Liga on Saturday…
Real Madrid are back in action in the Primera Division on Saturday as they look to hang on to their advantage over Barcelona at the top of the table.
Zinedine Zidane’s side lead La Liga by three points from their fierce rivals, with a Clasico clash at the Santiago Bernabeu ahead next weekend, and also have a game in hand.
Real beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday night and face the German champions in the return at the Bernabeu on Tuesday, so they will have one eye on that match as well.
REAL MADRID INJURIES
Raphael Varane and Pepe are both sidelined, leaving Real Madrid with only two central defenders available for the trip to Sporting Gijon on Saturday: Sergio Ramos and Nacho.
Gareth Bale is also out after limping off with a muscular injury at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday night.
REAL MADRID SUSPENSIONS
Cristiano Ronaldo and Dani Carvajal are both just one yellow card away from a suspension and will be rested on Saturday to avoid the possibility of a ban that would see them miss the crucial Clasico clash at the Santiago Bernabeu next weekend. Indeed, neither of the two are in the squad to face Sporting.
REAL MADRID POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Gareth Bale is out through injury, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have been left out of the squad as well, so coach Zinedine Zidane will rotate his pack for the Liga clash away to struggling Sporting on Saturday.
With the Champions League quarter-final second leg ahead against Bayern Munich ahead on Tuesday night and then the Clasico versus Barcelona to follow next Sunday, Zidane will want to keep players fresh.
Alvaro Morata, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez could all start in attack, with run-outs for James Rodriguez, Mateo Kovacic and Isco in midfield.
In defence, Danilo is set to start at right-back. However, Sergio Ramos and Nacho will be needed as they are the only two fit centre-backs available.
Kiko Casilla will start in goal as Keylor Navas has also been left out of the squad to rest ahead of the games against Bayern and Barcelona over the next eight days.
SPORTING GIJON TEAM NEWS
Sporting Gijon are down in 18th place in La Liga, five points adrift of Leganes ahead of this weekend’s fixtures.
The Asturians parted company with coach Abelardo in January and appointed Rubi as his successor, but the northerners have lost their last two games after picking up five points from their previous three and need to start winning to avoid the drop.
Striker Duje Cop is available again after injury, while Douglas and Lacina Traore should shake off niggling problems in time for Saturday’s game. Nacho Cases is also set to return, but Burgui is on loan from Madrid and cannot feature due to a clause in that agreement.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
Sporting have only won once in their last 15 games against Real Madrid in La Liga – 0-1 at Santiago Bernabeu in April 2011 – and they have lost 12 of those games.
The last Sporting win over Real Madrid in La Liga at El Molinon was on October 1994 (1-0).
Real Madrid have scored in each of their last 42 La Liga games. Only Barcelona in 2013 have had a longer streak, scoring in 64 consecutive matches.
Zinedine Zidane will visit El Molinon for the first time as Real boss. The team’s last visit there was for Rafa Benitez’s first league game as Madrid coach (0-0).
UK TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
Sporting Gijon versus Real Madrid kicks off at 15:15 UK time on Saturday but, due to broadcasting laws in the the country, it cannot be shown live. However, the match will be transmitted later on, starting at 17:15 UK time on Sky Sports 1.