Real Madrid welcome Real Sociedad to the Santiago Bernabéu on Saturday evening.
Just two points separate the two clubs in what is turning out to be one of the more competitive La Liga seasons.
The hosts go into this weekend’s showdown in second place on the back of a six-match unbeaten home streak in La Liga, winning four and drawing twice.
As for their guests, they’ve won on both of their last two away trips, but have recently lost at Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla – two of their fellow top six clubs to sit in fifth.
Read on for our Real Madrid v Real Sociedad preview, predictions, team news and TV coverage information.
When is Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad and where can I watch live?
Competition: La Liga
Venue: Santiago Bernabéu
Date: Saturday, 23 November 2019
Kick-off: 8:00 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): LaLigaTV and Premier 2
Last five meetings: Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad
12 May 2019: Real Sociedad 3-1 Real Madrid (La Liga)
06 January 2019: Real Madrid 0-2 Real Sociedad (La Liga)
10 February 2018: Real Madrid 5-2 Real Sociedad (La Liga)
17 September 2017: Real Sociedad 1-3 Real Madrid (La Liga)
29 January 2017: Real Madrid 3-0 Real Sociedad (La Liga)
Aggregate Score: Real Madrid (LLWWW) 12-8 Real Sociedad (WWLLL)
Ones to watch
Real Madrid: Gareth Bale
The last time Real Madrid faced Real Sociedad there was no room on the bench for Gareth Bale, whose time in the Spanish capital seemed all but over. Chances of a move away only accelerated when manager Zinedine Zidane during pre-season explicitly stated the Welsh forward was no longer part of his plans.
However, life works in mysterious ways, with Bale still employed by Los Blancos and he could feature this weekend just days after he posed in front of a controversial flag after Wales secured Euro 2020 qualification– though he faces stiff competition from Rodrygo.
“Things can happen outside but we have to look inside the club. What happens outside doesn’t bother us,” Zidane told reporters.
“I have spoken to Gareth like I do all players, every day we say hello and we talk if we pass in the club and that’s it. I am not interested in talking about what happened outside. He is okay and has trained normally with us and that is that.
“He is a player who has given lots to the club and I will look only at the sport, not what they say outside because there is a lot said and I am not here for that. I am not interested. It interests a lot of people but not me.”
Key stat: Gareth Bale has scored six goals across nine previous meetings with Real Sociedad.
Real Sociedad: Martin Odegaard
Both of Martin Odegaard’s two appearances for Real Madrid came at the Santiago Bernabéu and the Norwegian playmaker returns on Saturday with a point to prove.
He’s assimilated well back into life in Spain with La Real, where he’s on loan, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by the powers that be at his parent club. There’s every chance Odegaard could be part of their squad next season, but for now – like Fernando Morientes in the past – he’s hoping to be a thorn in their side.
“It’s a special game for me,” he said. “But truth be told, it doesn’t matter if it’s against Madrid or any other side, all I want to do is play.
“I think that we’ve made a good start to the season. We’re up towards the top, which is where we want to be, and I’m happy with how I’m playing too.
“My goal is to make it at Real Madrid. That’s why I signed for them, to play there. I’m in no rush, though. I’m happy here and if I play for Madrid two or five years down the line, it doesn’t matter.”
Key stat: Martin Odegaard has created 28 chances in La Liga this season which is 10 more than La Real’s second most creative player Mikel Oyarzabal (18).
Real Madrid are expected to welcome back Gareth Bale who has not played for the club since October.
James Rodriguez, meanwhile, is definitely out through injury. He’s joined in the physio room by Nacho, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vázquez.
Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Casemiro, Modric, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Hazard.
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Martin Odegaard should be available for manager Imanol Alguacil after missing their 1-1 draw with CD Leganés before the recent international break. Adnan Januzaj stood in for the Norwegian midfielder but should begin this weekend’s game on the bench.
Aritz Elustondo and Robin Le Normand are both battling to start alongside Diego Llorente in the heart of La Real’s defence. Aihen Muñoz, Asier Illarramendi and Rubén Pardo meanwhile miss the trip to Madrid as they continue to recover from their respective injuries.
Predicted XI: Moya; Zaldua, Llorente, Le Normand, Monreal; Merino, Zubeldia; Portu, Odegaard, Oyarzabal; Isak.
Real Sociedad have been a breath of fresh air and deserve to sit two points below leaders Barcelona; they go into Saturday’s game undaunted given last season’s visit to the Bernabeu.
However, in away matches to those around them they’ve struggled and it could be the same again, even if Zidane’s men haven’t always been at the top of their game.
Scoreline prediction: Real Madrid 2-1 Real Sociedad