La Liga Preview: Real Madrid - Getafe

It’s the mini city derby in Madrid as two sides from the capital, El Real and El Geta, look to add three more points to their tally for very different purposes.

Kick-off: Tuesday, 21 April 2009, 21:00 CET - Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid

The Real Test

The make-up of Real Madrid’s squad next campaign will depend very much on the success of this season. A miraculous title triumph could see a bulk of their current personnel retained, especially coach, Juande Ramos and his staff, as rumours continue to grow about the amount of changes the incoming administration will undertake.

Failure to defend the throne they won for the last two years may invoke a massive clear-out in the dressing room, but the question really is, would it be such a shame even if Los Blancos were to lose the crown to a Barcelona side who have been simply out of this planet?

Even with their horror run of form towards the end of 2008, Madrid currently have enough points to top every major league in Europe. And their superlative run of 15 wins in their last 16 La Liga games is almost as dazzling as Barca’s streak of 19 wins in 20 games between mid-September to early February.

But on the flip side of the coin, the ‘Men in White’ have not really been tested in the league in the second half of the term. Their toughest encounter was the city derby clash with Atletico Madrid, which they could only draw 1-1, a result which halted their remarkable ten-game winning streak.

The final seven rounds of the season will finally put the Merengues’ title credentials under the microscope, starting with Tuesday’s showdown with stubborn Getafe, followed by the always taxing Sevilla, a resurgent Valencia and a desperate Villarreal. And sandwiched in between is, of course, El Clasico.  

Rare Distinction

Despite the obvious gulf between the two capital clubs, Getafe have rarely been overwhelmed by their more celebrated big brothers. In fact, they have lost just once in their previous six encounters while winning their last two meetings.

Los Azulones may not have a whole lot of shiny silverware to show off in their trophy cabinet, but they do have the rare distinction of being the only club in Spain to have a better head-to-head record against the 31-time La Liga champions; although the fact that they have only been in the top flight for five seasons may have a lot to do with that impressive statistic.

But the fact remains that overall, El Geta have beaten Madrid four times, lost just three and drawn the other two. However, that proud record will mean little if they deprive themselves of the opportunity to extend it beyond this campaign.

Losing their La Liga status is still very much a real threat for Victor Munoz and his troops, as they currently lie in 15th spot just four points above the drop zone. They were lucky to hang on to that substantial cushion after all their direct rivals, from Osasuna to Athletic Bilbao, Sporting Gijon and Recreativo Huelva, also lost last weekend.


Real Madrid

Apr 18 Recreativo Huelva 0-1 Real Madrid

Apr 12 Real Madrid 2-0 Real Valladolid (LA LIGA)

Apr 04 Malaga 0-1 Real Madrid (LA LIGA)

Mar 22 Real Madrid 3-0 Almeria (LA LIGA)

Mar 14 Athletic Bilbao 2-5 Real Madrid (LA LIGA)


Apr 18 Getafe 0-1 Barcelona (LA LIGA)

Apr 12 Sevilla 0-1 Getafe (LA LIGA)

Apr 04 Valencia 4-1 Getafe (LA LIGA)

Mar 22 Getafe 2-1 Recreativo Huelva (LA LIGA)

Mar 15 Real Valladolid 1-0 Getafe (LA LIGA)


Real Madrid

Lassana Diarra will have to serve out a one-match ban after reaching his yellow card limit at the weekend. Guti, however, is back from suspension and Juande Ramos has given a strong hint that he could play.

Wesley Sneijder is out for the next six weeks and will very likely miss the rest of the season after tearing his hamstring muscle on Saturday against Recreativo. Left-back, Gabriel Heinze has a problem with his right knee and may not recover in time for Getafe’s visit.

Probable Starting XI (4-4-2): Casillas – Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Cannavaro, Marcelo – Higuain, Guti, Gago, Robben – Raul (c), Huntelaar


Victor Munoz has downplayed the ugly bust-up he had with wing-back, Cosmin Contra, after the Romanian lashed out following his substitution during the Barcelona clash.

The coach has no injury concerns but that only stresses the importance to pick his best first XI. Esteban Granero, who was surprisingly left out on the bench in favour of Contra at the weekend, and left-back Lucas Licht are expected to return to the line-up. Regular goalkeeper, Jacobo could be omitted again for back-up, Vladimir Stojkovic, who has impressed in his last two games.

Probable Starting XI (4-4-2): Stojkovic – Cortes, Cata Diaz, Belenguer (c), Licht – Granero, Casquero, Polanski, Gavilan – Manu, Albin


Real Madrid

The absences of Lass and Sneijder in midfield should allow players like Guti and Rafael van der Vaart a chance rise to the occasion. The duo have had a miserably topsy-turvy season so far but both would relish the opportunity to end the campaign, or possibly even their Madrid careers, on a high.


Uruguayan forward Juan Albin was the toast around Getafe in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season when he netted twice in the 3-2 win at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. He has been struggling for form recently but if given the chance to replicate his heroics, he will not hesitate to punish Madrid again.  


Getafe are a notoriously difficult team to break down, as Barcelona can attest. Madrid will most likely try to grind out another slender victory, but the gaping hole left by midfield general, Lass, could see their four-game clean sheet come to an end. But as Juande and his players keep preaching, three points are all that matters.

Real Madrid 2-1 Getafe

KS Leong,