Real Madrid will look for the comfy confines of Santiago Bernabeu on Dec. 18 to give them the boost needed to improve upon the 0-0 draw with Olimpic de Xativa in the first leg of this Copa del Rey showdown.
It would be a huge embarrassment for Real Madrid to fail to advance past the final 32 in this tournament. This is something we don't need to remind Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti of:
He is, of course, referring to the 4-0 drubbing of Madrid by Alcorcon in the 2009-10 Copa del Rey, and I have to believe he has reminded his players of the dubious distinction they will earn if they fail in this match.
This is not to completely write off Olimpic. Although they don't feature the talent or resources of their counterpart, they are a sound defensive squad that has run off nine straight clean sheets.
Check out the vitals for this potentially historic match.
Date: Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Start Time: 3:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. GMT
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
Watch: beIN Sport en Espanol
Live Stream: beIN Sport Play
Top Storyline: Ancelotti Sticks with Youngsters
Much like the first leg of this clash, Ancelotti is going to feature a young line-up. ESPN's Dermot Corrigan reported the Italian head coach confirmed all of the following players would be starting: Jese Rodriguez, Alvaro Morata, Casemiro, Isco, Nacho Fernandez, Asier Illarramendi and Dani Carvajal.
In the first leg of this match, Real Madrid looked completely pedestrian on the attack against this sound defensive team. We'll see if they look a little more polished and dangerous this time around.
Prediction: Real Madrid 2-0 Olimpic
Real Madrid is not going to blow this match at home on their own soil. Sure, they are missing world-class talent with the absence of Ronaldo and Bale, but it's not like this squad will be void of talent.
Real Madrid will score an early goal and then sit back and wait for counter opportunities to earn the easy win.