Spain's domestic big guns will clash for the rights to national supremacy on Tuesday when Atletico Madrid travel to face rivals Real Madrid in the first leg of this year's Spanish Super Cup.
La Liga's reigning champions make the short trip to the Bernabeu, where they'll face Carlo Ancelotti's Copa del Rey-winning outfit in a rematch of last season's Champions League Final.
The stakes of this encounter are usually regarded as low when compared to those of other competitions, but a Madrid derby makes for a fierce clash of veritable titans—even more so given the clubs' current strengths.
Read on for a breakdown of each team's form coming into this first leg along with a prediction.
Except for a 2-0 UEFA Super Cup win over Sevilla, pre-season has seen a string of poor results for Los Merengues, who come into Tuesday's meeting with four losses in their last five games.
Real travelled to the United States for the International Champions Cup but scored just two goals against Inter, Roma and Manchester United—albeit with largely weakened line-ups.
However, with James Rodriguez, Toni Kroos and Keylor Navas all joining their cause, beIN SPORTS reports that Diego Simeone believes Real are an improved outfit compared to the 2013-14 squad:
Meanwhile, Atleti have had a far more positive period of results over the summer, playing more friendlies than their local rivals and having a better time all the while.
The level of opposition may not have been as high as Real's, but a record of five wins, one draw and one loss from their seven games is nonetheless fruitful. This included a 5-1 battering of Wolfsburg in Germany, which yielded the only goal Atleti conceded all summer.
From what form can tell, Simeone's men might have an upper hand in match fitness ahead of their Super Cup clash—especially as far as first-team assets go.
However, there are few occasions when a line-up of Real's talents can be ruled out entirely, particularly when the side won last season's two-legged Copa del Rey Semi-Final against Atletico 5-0 on aggregate.
Real will encounter a difficult defensive test once again at the Bernabeu, and with no extra time in sight this time around, Los Rojiblancos could have the steel to come away with a result in tow.
Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid