The big cats are set to battle Sunday in the marquee matchup of the Liga MX weekend.
Last season couldn't have been any different for Pumas and Tigres. Pumas finished dead last in the regular season while Tigres ended the year lifting the title.
This year, though, Pumas have run out as the surprise league leaders while Tigres are now undefeated in the last three after losing in Jornada 1.
|Game||Pumas vs. Tigres|
|Date||Saturday, Feburary 4|
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Stream (US only)||fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
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SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Goalkeepers||Saldivar, Magana, Castillo|
|Defenders||Van Rankin, Arribas, Quintana, Mendoza, Fuentes, Garcia, Jaquez, Gonzalez|
|Midfielders||Escamilla, Cabrera, Gonzalez, Jurado, Zamudio, Gallardo, Diaz, Calderon, Formica|
|Forwards||Barrera, Guerron, Alustiza, Figueroa, Asprilla, Acosta, Castillo, Torres|
Jesus Gallardo went the full 90 for Mexico against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday but the extra day of rest he'll get compared to his other Mexico teammates ahead of the Sunday match may mean he still gets the nod from David Patino.
New signing Erick "Cubo" Torres is registered and could make his debut.
Potential starting XI: Saldivar; Van Rankin, Arribas, Quintana, Fuentes; Diaz, Cabrera; Barrera, Alustiza, Gallardo; Castillo
|Goalkeepers||Guzman, Fernandez, Ortega|
|Defenders||Kolodziejczak, Ayala, Juninho, Meza, Torres Nilo, Acosta, Jimenez, Estrada, Rodriguez|
|Midfielders||Carioca, Duenas, J. Torres, Vasquez, R. Torres, Zelarayan, Aquino, Alvarez, Sosa, Damm|
|Forwards||Valencia, Gignac, Vargas|
Like Gallardo, Tigres right back Luis "Chaka" Rodriguez played all of Mexico's friendly match as did center back Hugo Ayala. Rodriguez, however, is suspended after being red carded last weekend against Pachuca. and left back Jorge Torres Nilo is out with a leg injury. That likely will see Francisco Meza play left back once again with Ivan "El Guti" Estrada stepping in at right back. Jesus Duenas could move to right back as well
Potential starting XI: Guzman; Estrada, Ayala, Juninho, Meza; Duenas, Carioca; Valencia, Vargas, Aquino; Gignac
It's time for Pumas to prove it.
The team is the surprising league leader but just how much stock to put into their hot start is a big question.
The attack relies heavily on Nicolas Castillo, who has scored four goals so far this season, but struggled mightily against a sub-par Lobos BUAP team last season.
They escaped that game with a win thanks to Marcelo Diaz's goal in the 73rd minute but will need to be at their best with Tigres coming to town.
The reigning champion has avoided defeat in its last three matches and is back into the playoff positions after starting the season with a shock loss to Puebla.
Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti will likely be without both his starting fullbacks with Luis "Chaka" Rodriguez suspended and Jorge Torres Nilo still trying to overcome an injury.
The veteran manager, who said this week he'll see out the rest of his Tigres contract and retire in 2020, could bring in seldom-used fullback Ivan Estrada or move Jesus Duenas from the midfield and replace him in the middle.
How this one goes depends on which Pumas shows up: The team that rolled through the first two weekends and then hung with America or the one that stumbled last weekend in Pachuca.