Rayo Vallecano vs. Real Madrid: Team News, Preview, Live Stream and TV Info

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistApril 8, 2015

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale, left, in action with Rayo's Tito during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Rayo Vallecano and Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

Real Madrid are in the hunt to prevent Barcelona from stretching their lead at the summit of La Liga on Wednesday when they make the trip to face Rayo Vallecano.

The Red Sashes are making a move on the top half of Spanish first tier this season, and Los Merengues will merely be glad it's a short midweek trip to Campo de Futbol de Vallecas.

Read on for a look ahead to Wednesday's Madrid derby, including full viewing details, information and match preview.

Date: Wednesday, April 8

Time: 9 p.m. BST/4 p.m. ET

Venue: Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid

Live Stream: Sky Go (UK), beIN Sports Play (US)

TV Info: Sky Sports 5 (UK), beIN Sports 2 (US)

Rayo Vallecano Form Guide

ResultScoreOpponent
W1-2Eibar
W1-0Malaga
W3-1Granada
L6-1Barcelona
W4-2Levante

Real Madrid Form Guide

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ResultScoreOpponent
W9-1Granada
L2-1Barcelona
W2-0Levante
L3-4Schalke
L1-0Atletico Madrid

Team News

A foot injury suffered in training has left Gareth Bale listed as questionable for Wednesday's trip to Rayo, meaning either James Rodriguez or Jese will have to pick up Los Blancos' burden out wide.

Inside La Liga confirm the Welshman may not feature, with Carlo Ancelotti assuredly taking next week's Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid into account:

Speaking to the official Real Madrid website in the buildup to Wednesday's clash, Ancelotti said that James and Isco are each in the running to start, while Sami Khedira is still an option:

“He is like the rest of the players. His fitness has improved and playing with Germany during the international break has helped him a lot. He is a squad member until 30 June and if he is needed I'll use him.”

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 22:  Isco of Real Madrid CF in action during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on March 22, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images

As Ancelotti hints, Khedira's contract at the Bernabeu runs out this summer, but it seems the German may yet have a part to play in his team's season.

Roberto Trashorras is back for Rayo after serving suspension against Eibar this past weekend, strengthening the hosts' midfield significantly.

Predicted Formations

Rayo Vallecano (4-2-3-1)

Cristian Alvarez; Tito, Emiliano Insua, Abdoulaye Ba, Ze Castro; Roberto Trashorras, Raul Baena; Gael Kakuta, Adri Embarba, Alberto Bueno; Manucho 

Real Madrid (4-3-3)

Iker Casillas; Dani Carvajal, Marcelo, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos; Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Isco; James Rodriguez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema

Match Odds
ResultOdds
Rayo Vallecano Win1-5
Draw6-1
Real Madrid Win12-1
Real Madrid Win After Drawing at HT3-1
Oddschecker.com

Players to Watch

Amid the calls for Bale to be dropped from some sections of the Real Madrid support, this could be an opportunity for midfield maestro Isco to strut his stuff at Real.

And despite playing a backroom role for stretches of the campaign, the playmaker is quoted by Spanish newspaper AS as saying he believes he's developed well this season:

Trashorras' return will give the home outfit a much-needed turn of creativity at their core, and one can expect the ex-Barcelona man to be the one pulling their strings. 

Key Battle

Alberto Bueno vs. Toni Kroos

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 18: Alberto Bueno (L) of Rayo Vallecano de Madrid competes for the ball with Mehdi Gregory Guiseppe Lacen (R) of Getafe CF during the La Liga match between Rayo Vallecano de Madrid and Getafe CF at Estadio de Vallecas on May 18, 2014 i
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Not many will have expected Rayo Vallecano to have a player with 16 goals to his name this season, but Alberto Bueno has been a pleasant revelation for the Spanish upstarts.

As Squawka shows, the attacker is still some way off the exploits of a certain Real Madrid man, but he'll nonetheless be one of the first danger man Los Blancos look to contain:

Unfortunately for Bueno, Toni Kroos can prove to be an extremely efficient machine when it comes to limiting gaps in between midfield and defence, the exact area in which Rayo's star likes to go about his business.

If Bueno can be shut down, Real succeed in taking down their hosts' most threatening centre-piece, as long as Kroos has the discipline to allow more creative assets to orchestrate matters in possession.

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