Real Madrid are in pole position to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2018-19 Copa del Rey, as they take a 4-2 lead to Girona in their quarter-final second leg.
In an absorbing game at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Thursday, Los Blancos scored two late goals to give themselves a cushion. They backed that up with another impressive performance in La Liga on Sunday, when they beat Espanyol 4-2 away from home.
Girona have endured a difficult week, as they were beaten by Barcelona on Sunday in La Liga. Still, they produced an unlikely result at Atletico Madrid in the previous round to progress, and it would be foolish to write them off given Real's inconsistency this season.
A gripping match should be on the cards on Thursday at the Estadi Montilivi. This is how the bookmakers see the contest, where you can watch the action and a preview of what's to come in Girona.
Girona win (10-3)
Real Madrid win (4-6)
Real Madrid (1-16)
Odds courtesy of OddsChecker.
Date: Thursday, January 31
Time: 8:30 p.m. (GMT), 3:30 p.m. (ET)
TV Info: beIN Sports (U.S.)
Live Stream: beIN Sports Connect (U.S.)
In a season where Real Madrid have been so inconsistent, there have been some small signs in recent weeks that manager Santiago Solari is beginning to make a mark on this team.
Los Blancos come into this fixture on the back of five wins in their last six games, with their only defeat being a last-16 second-leg loss to Leganes in which numerous changes were made. With momentum starting to build, this is a competition the capital club will have their eye on.
The first leg saw Madrid in control for the majority of the game, with a couple of defensive lapses allowing Girona to lead and then equalise. In Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema, though, they had key men on hand to help them win the game.
Despite not performing to his best in defence, Ramos is enjoying a tremendous season in front of goal, netting three times in his previous two games and 10 for the season. He is so difficult to stop in the air:
Benzema has also found form lately, and he produced one of the standout individual displays of the La Liga season in the win over Espanyol, scoring twice and causing the opposition back four numerous problems with his clever movement.
Per OptaJose, in addition to his potency in front of goal, he was able to link up play for team-mates when dropping into pockets of space:
Another positive for Madrid in that encounter was the return of Gareth Bale from injury. The Wales international netted after coming off the bench in the second half.
Girona do have the players to cause problems for Madrid, and if they were to get an early goal, the match could ignite. Per journalist Pedro Martin (h/t Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC), fixtures between the teams tend to be high-scoring ones:
Madrid have defensive mistakes in them, and it would not be a surprise if the home side were able to take the lead here.
However, Los Blancos appear to be a lot more reliable in midfield and attack. With Bale back, Benzema in form and the team seemingly growing in confidence, they have it in them to stave off a Girona storm and make progress.
Prediction: Girona 1-2 Real Madrid