Match Preview and Team News
Real Madrid have found themselves under the spotlight after a recent bad run has seen rivals Barcelona close to within two points of their position at the top of the La Liga table. After slumping to their fourth defeat in five games last weekend, Real Madrid will have plenty of reason to be apprehensive ahead of this weekends trip to Recreativo Huelva. It would seem that the visitors do not like playing in Andalucía after losing on all three visits to the region already this season: Sevilla, Almeria and Real Betis.
In contrast, Recreativo are feeling pretty good about themselves at the moment. Their new coach, Manuel Zambrano, has steered them away from the relegation zone after collecting seen points from his first three games in charge. Confidence is high after taking points from Espanyol, Depor and Valencia, and the home side will not roll over in front of such heavyweight opposition as Real Madrid - defeat could send them back down in to the drop zone - and the visitors can expect to have a fight on their hands.
The absence of Ruud Van Nistelrooy is a troublesome one for Bernd Schuster as Real Madrid appear to have lost their killer instinct in front of goal in recent weeks. They could have won their last three games were it not for the absence of some clinical finishing. Whether the loss of seven points in their lead over Barcelona is down to complacency, immaturity or just plain old bad luck - you can be sure that Schuster has made his side aware of the importance of this game.
The German, however, is playing it cool in front of the media, saying "Its all the same to me, I'm not worried about who is top on Sunday evening, I'm just concerned with winning. We just have to win. All the rest is someone else's problem."
Team news: Ruud van Nistelrooy and Guti have both failed to recover in time an neither have made the squad. Metzelder, Sneijder (two weeks from fitness) and Salgado are also out injured. Robinho has recovered from his torn abdominal muscle and has travelled south to Andalucía but may not make the starting line up. Good news also for Pepe who is also included after a two month absence through injury. Marcelo also makes a return.
Real Madrid squad: Casillas, Dudek, Sergio Ramos, Cannavaro, Pepe, Heinze, Torres, Marcelo, Diarra, Gago, Drenthe, Robben, Robinho, Balboa, Higuaín, Baptista, Soldado y Raúl.
Beto returns to the Recreativo side after the Centre back completes his one match suspension. Poli returns from injury but may not make the starting eleven. Gastroenteritis has hit Uruguayan defender Martin Cáceres over the last week, but team doctors believe that he should recover in time to make the squad on Saturday. Quique Álvarez is on standby should Poli not recover.
Midfielder Jesús Vázquez will serve a one match suspension after picking up a fifth yellow card last week and Argentine defender José María Calvo is also out through injury. Javi Guerrero is also a long term injury concern for Zambrano.
Florent Sinama-Pongolle will play, in spite of announcing that he is struggling with a niggling injury, but will face an operation at the end of the season. His pace will prove to be a valuable weapon on Saturday as the home side will surely look to catch Madrid on the break.
La Liga Review suspects, however, that Schuster will have his side fired up for this one and the visitors will not let this one slip away.