Espanyol has their work cut out for them if they are to advance past Real Madrid in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey.
Los Blancos secured a 1-0 win in the first leg of this matchup, and that came on the Estadi Cornella-El Prat pitch. Now Espanyol have to make up a goal disadvantage on Real Madrid's stomping grounds.
Along with a with an earlier matchup in La Liga play, this will be the third time these two clubs have met since Jan. 12. Espanyol hosted and lost both, 1-0.
Real Madrid enters this match on an absolute tear. They've won each of their past nine matches across all competitions.
Check out the vitals for this matchup and then we'll dig a little deeper into the preview.
When: Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 3 p.m. ET/8 p.m. GMT
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
Live Stream: beIN Sport Play
Key Storyline: How will Real Madrid cope wit Gareth Bale's absence?
Gareth Bale took a nasty shot to an unfortunate place this past Saturday, Jan. 25. He was forced off the pitch in the eighth minute as a result.
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti told the press, via ESPN, that Bale will not be able to participate in Tuesday's contest. Ancelotti did clear up, however, that the injury was not related to the specific area where Bale was struck:
'Gareth Bale's problem isn’t with his genitals', says a one-eyebrow-raised Carlo Ancelotti http://t.co/sFUM1WcVAD— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) January 27, 2014
It is the left leg, according to Ancelotti, that will keep Bale from action.
Ancelotti, per ESPN, stated that Jese Rodriguez will take Bale's spot on the pitch:
Obviously, there is going to be a drop-off from the world's most expensive footballer to Jese Rodriguez. The 20-year-old, however, has been in fine form in his recent playing time and is in the process of carving out a role for himself.
This is the perfect opportunity for Rodriguez to prove his worth. Considering Madrid's talent advantage over Espanyol, Bale's absence shouldn't have a big impact on this match.
Prediction: Real Madrid 1, Espanyol 0
Playing an away match, already facing a 1-0 deficit and with a Feb. 2 La Liga contest against Real Betis, Espanyol isn't going to come out with the intensity needed to compete in this match.
Real Madrid will net a quick goal and then be content to guard their goal and coast out with an easy and familiar 1-0 victory.