Madrid derby to condition Real and Atletico for Europe

Madrid, Sep 30 (IANS) Both Real and Atletico Madrid will make changes to their starting line-ups when they play their respective Champions League matches on Wednesday night.

The ever-feisty Madrid derby between the two teams in the Spanish BBVA Primera Liga on Sunday night is a conditioning factor at the end of a three week period which will see the two teams each play six matches, reports Xinhua.

Real Madrid face what should be a relatively straightforward trip to play Swedish side, Malmo and coach Rafael Benitez is not taking any risks with the injured quintet of Sergio Ramos, James Rodriguez, Pepe, Danilo and Gareth Bale, who should all be fit for Sunday’s encounter.

Jese Rodriguez has been included after overcoming a calf injury, while Benitez could also consider giving Kiko Casilla a competitive debut in the Madrid goal, while giving a rest to midfielder Tony Kroos.

Atletico meanwhile are at home to Benfica in a game which could decide who eventually wins their qualifying group. Atletico won their opening game away to Galatasaray, but looked flat and off the pact as they slipped to a 1-0 league defeat away to Villarreal on Saturday.

Coach Diego Simeone could make some changes with Angel Correa starting in attack and Jackson Martinez, who has disappointed so far this season, dropping to the bench.

Koke is still unlikely to be fit for Atletico, but Juanfran will be back at right back, while Stefan Savic could be back in central defense.

Benfica have several former Atletico players, such as Mexican striker Raul Jimenez and he, along with Pizzi and Silvio, will be highliy motivated for the game.

Finally, Sevilla will hope that their first league win of the season will give them the morale boost as they travel to face Italian Champions, Juventus, who are suffering a poor start to the season.

Sevilla travel with nine players, including former Juve striker, Fernando Llorente out through injury.

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