Madrid - Real Madrid can set a club record by extending their
unbeaten run to 35 games when Deportivo la Coruna visit the Santiago Bernabeu
Deportivo's last visit to Real was Zinedine Zidane's first
match in charge back in January and the 5-0 thrashing of the Galicians was a
sign of things to come in a dream debut year for the Frenchman as a senior
Madrid haven't tasted defeat since April, winning the
Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and opening up a six-point La Liga lead over
Barcelona in the process.
"You have to congratulate the players," insisted
Zidane humbly after Madrid had to settle for qualifying for the last 16 of the
Champions League in second place behind Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.
"They are the ones that are on the pitch, that have to
fight and run."
Los Blancos will be looking for the perfect end to their La
Liga campaign for 2016 as they head for the Club World Cup in Japan on Sunday.
However, Deportivo have also been buoyed by a surprise 5-1
romp over high-flying Real Sociedad on Monday to register a first league win
since early October and move out of the relegation zone in the process.
Also read: Zidane keen to avoid Juventus reunion
"I am always optimistic and I am going there with the
hope of getting something from the game," said Deportivo boss Gaizka
"We are in the more desperate situation and we are not
going to the Bernabeu just to make up the numbers."
Madrid are at full strength bar the absence of Gareth Bale.
Toni Kroos and Alvaro Morata made their return from injury
in the 2-2 with Dortmund in midweek and are likely to feature once more, whilst
Mateo Kovacic could be recalled after being rested on Wednesday.
- Iniesta style -
Barcelona can cut the gap to three points before Madrid
kick-off with victory at rock bottom Osasuna earlier on Saturday.
After the blow of conceding a last minute equaliser to
Madrid in last weekend's El Clasico, Barca got back to winning ways with a
morale boosting 4-0 thrashing of Borussia Moenchengladbach on Tuesday.
Crucially the returning Andres Iniesta has starred in his
first two appearances after a six-week injury layoff over the past week.
With their captain restored, the Catalans looked like the
Barca of old by registering a competition record 993 passes against the Germans
"The most important thing is that the team continues to
believe in what it does and how it does it," said Iniesta.
"I am convinced we will get to the final months of the
season in the hunt for all the trophies."
Neymar is suspended so Arda Turan is expected to deputise
alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in attack after netting a hat-trick
Sevilla were the one Spanish side not assured of their place
in the Champions League last 16 before this week, but ground out a 0-0 draw at
Lyon to progress.
However, struggles on the road have been a common theme for
Jorge Sampaoli's men as despite lying third in La Liga, seven points adrift of
Real, they have won just four of their 12 away games this season.
The Europa League holders will be keen to make amends for a
shock 2-1 defeat at Granada last weekend and maintain a two-point lead over
Atletico Madrid when they travel to Celta Vigo on Sunday.
Atletico aren't in action until Monday when they visit
sixth-placed Villarreal in a crucial clash in the fight to qualify for next
season's Champions League.For
the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us
on Twitter and like our Facebook page.