Match Time: 6/29/2020 04:00 Monday(GMT+8)
Real Madrid will be looking to make it five La Liga victories in a row when they travel to the RCDE Stadium to face relegation-threatened Espanyol on Sunday night. Los Blancos are currently top of the table, although Barcelona will have the chance to return to the summit when they face Celta Vigo on Saturday afternoon. Espanyol, meanwhile, are at the bottom of the division, eight points from safety with just seven games left.
Espanyol have not played outside of Spain's top flight since the 1993-94 campaign, but the Catalan outfit are in serious danger of dropping into the Segunda Division for the 2020-21 season. Indeed, a total of 24 points from 31 matches has left them rock bottom of the table, eight points from the safety of 17th, which is a concern at this relatively late stage of the campaign. The Catalan outfit have only won five of their 31 league fixtures this term, while they will enter this weekend's match off the back of successive defeats to Levante and Real Betis. The fact that Espanyol will face Real Sociedad and Barcelona in two of their next three matches after Sunday's clash makes it even more unlikely that they will be able to escape the bottom three. A positive result against Madrid could kickstart their survival bid, though, and it is shaping up to be a fascinating evening of football at the RCDE Stadium.
Los Blancos, meanwhile, have been in excellent form since returning to action on June 14, putting four straight wins on the board against Eibar, Valencia, Sociedad and Mallorca. Zinedine Zidane's side are currently top of the division, although they are level on points with Barcelona, who will have the chance to return to the summit when they face Celta on Saturday afternoon. Madrid have only lost three of their 31 league matches this season, while they have the best defensive record with just 21 conceded, which is an indication of their strength this term. There is an argument that the capital side have an easier run-in than Barcelona, and another victory in this game would lead them nicely into their next clash with Getafe on July 2. Madrid have won their last three La Liga matches against Espanyol, but they suffered a 1-0 loss when they travelled to the Catalan side during the 2017-18 campaign.
Espanyol La Liga form: DLWDLL
Real Madrid La Liga form: WLWWWW
Espanyol will be without the services of Sebastien Corchia through injury, but Leandro Cabrera and Bernardo Espinosa are both back from suspensions and should start at the heart of the defence. Head coach Abelardo Fernandez is expected to make changes from the side that lost at Betis last time out, with Wu Lei, Raul de Tomas and Oscar Melendo set to return to the starting XI. David Lopez played in central defence against Betis but could be pushed forward into midfield, while Marc Roca, who continues to be linked with a summer exit, will also feature for the home side.
As for Madrid, Luka Jovic, Lucas Vazquez and Nacho are still on the sidelines through injury, while Ferland Mendy and Luka Modric are suspended due to the bookings that they picked up against Mallorca. Marcelo will replace Mendy at left-back, while Casemiro is available following a one-game ban and is likely to feature alongside Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde in midfield. Gareth Bale started against Mallorca, but the Wales international could drop out of the XI for this match, with Vinicius Junior and Eden Hazard joining Karim Benzema as part of a front three. Marco Asensio is also in contention to start, although its seems more likely that the Spain international will continue his recovery from a long-term knee injury off the bench.
Espanyol possible starting lineup: Diego Lopez; J Lopez, Espinosa, Cabrera, Vila; Melendo, David Lopez, Roca, Darder; Wu Lei, De Tomas
Real Madrid possible starting lineup: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Valverde; Hazard, Benzema, Vinicius
RCD Espanyol VS Real Madrid
Handicap Pick: Real Madrid -1.25