Match Preview & Team News
La Liga Review previews this weekend's Spanish football action as Real Madrid head north to the Riazor where they face Deportivo on Saturday evening. The Merengues will be hoping that they can extend their lead at the top of the Spanish league table to 11 points, before Barcelona play their game on Sunday. However, a La Liga win at Deportivo is something that Real Madrid have not managed in 17 years, since the 1991-92 season; Real's recent form and their record at the Riazor suggests that the visitors might need to wait another year for that elusive victory...
Deportivo have beaten Real Madrid ten times out of their last fifteen La Liga meetings in Galicia, with the Merengues only managing to draw the other five encounters. To make matters worse, Depor have inflicted a 5-2 and two 4-0's on the side from the capital whilst Madrid have managed to score just one goal on their last six visits to the Riazor.
Bernd Schuster says that those statistics are meaningless and that, if anything ,they will serve to motivate his players. The German said "Thinking about this is just something else to help motivate the team, playing at a ground where it seems it has always been difficult for Real Madrid."
Real Madrid's 2-1 home win over Espanyol last weekend ended a run of five defeats in seven matches, the most significant being the Champions League defeat and exit at the hands of Roma.
It would be fair to say that Madrid were quite fortunate against Espanyol and their poor run of form, less than impressive performances and Schuster's refusal to read a bit of Dale Carnegie means that the press have been busy heralding his demise an speculating over his successor.
However, as Schuster rightly points out, Real Madrid are still top of the Spanish league. The Madrid coach said "In football everything is done through work and things are achieved with time. Real Madrid can't be the only team who, with a new coach and 10 new players, can win a title. It is too much to ask."
In Madrid's favour on Saturday is the fact that Deportivo have hardly been the force they once were this season, and they find themselves just two points above the drop zone. However, Lotina's side do seem to have a run of decent form lately and last weeks 2-2 draw at Valencia capped off a run of four wins, two draws and only one defeat from their last seven games.
Deportivo also managed to provide one of the most bizarre headlines of the week - ignoring the Nicolas Cage ones of course - when Julian De Guzman stated that if he scored against Madrid on Saturday he would happily go a year without having sex.
Madrid will have to do without the suspended Sergio Ramos, while Ruud van Nistelrooy, Arjen Robben and Christoph Metzelder are all out injured. Wesley Sneijder returns to the squad. Cannavaro returns to the squad and if fully fit, should re-form hi talismanic partnership with Pepe at the centre of the Madrid defence: the pair have played together nine times and won on eight occasions.
There's good news for Deportivo as both Andres Guardado and goalkeeper Gustavo Munua have both passed fitness tests and return to Lotina's squad - however the young Mexican midfielder may be lacking in full match fitness and could start the match on the bench.
Deportivo: W2 D2 L1
Real Madrid: W1 D0 L4