Barcelona's loss against Valencia during the weekend has opened up the title race. Real Madrid are just one point away from Barcelona as Zinedine Zidane's team prepares to host Villarreal for a crucial encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
Atletico Madrid, who are tied on points with Barcelona for the top spot, and Barcelona are also set for their respective clashes on Wednesday. Real will be keen to exploit any hiccups from either team in the La Liga. However, Real Madrid needs to focus on their game against Villareal, who have been brilliant this season.
Villarreal currently lie on the fourth place, with 60 points on the La Liga table, but Real Madrid, despite having not won anything, can still do the double, win the Champions League and the domestic competition.
"We are capable of winning both titles and closer every day, but that doesn't mean anything. We have to work hard and fight until the last game and the last minute. We are going to work hard, it's the only thing that I can guarantee. This is how we're thinking: only about the next game. Tomorrow it's Villareal, after that Rayo...," Real Madrid's official website quoted Zidane as saying.
Real Madrid have five games left till the end of the La Liga season, and they need to be on top of their toes to win the title. Players like Cristiano Ronaldo, who have always been brilliant, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and James Rodriguez will be eager to help the team defeat Villareal. The home team will be plotting revenge too, as they lost 1-0 to Villarreal in December last year. Real Madrid will be without Pepe, Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal.
Real Madrid have been impressive of late, defeating quality teams like Barelona, Wolfsburg, and Sevilla. They will be eager to do the same over Villarreal, but Zidane believes defeating the visitors will not be easy.
"Villarreal are a very difficult team because defensively they are good and it's difficult to find a way to beat them. We have to do the same as in the latest games: prepare well and to think that it is going to be difficult. We must start the game well and out plan is to play in their half," Zidane said.
The game between Real Madrid and Villarreal is expected to be a cracker, with the visitors also coming into this game, with some good games behind them. Though Villarreal might have lost in their last game against Rayo Vallecano, their form has been good. They drew against Barcelona, and have reached the Europa League semifinal as well.
But this match against Real Madrid will be a stern test. A victory for the visitors will boost their morale as they are set to welcome Liverpool for their Europa League first leg.
Villarreal are not going to the Bernabeu with their full strength team as the visitors have some of their players injured, but their manager Marcelino Garcia Toral is aware of the mighty task. Players like Roberto Soldado, Jaume Costa and Samu Castillejo will not feature during the game.
"Madrid are playing well at the moment, finding the back of the net easily, especially at the BernabÃ©u. We're going there with all the hope in the world to make things very difficult for them. We hope they don't have a good day, but in the Santiago BernabÃ©u stadium they've been really solid, particularly in this final stretch of the season," Villarreal's official website quoted Marcelino as saying.
Where to watch live
Real Madrid vs Villarreal La Liga game is scheduled for a 10 p.m. local time (1:30 a.m. IST, 8 p.m. GMT, 4 p.m ET) start, with live TV coverage in India on Sony ESPNand Sony ESPN HD. Viewers in India can also watch the Real Madrid vs Villarreal La Liga game via live streaming online on Sony Liv.
The audience in Spain can catch the match Real Madrid vs Villarreal La Liga game live on Canal+ Partidazo and Movistar Futbol. African countries can watch the game live on SuperSport 7.
Fans in the U.K. can watch Real Madrid vs Villarreal La Liga game live on Sky Sports 3 and Sky Sports HD3. Live streaming option will be available on SkyGo.
Bein Sports will broadcast the La Liga match between Real Madrid vs Villarreal La Liga game live on TV in the U.S., while the live stream option is on Bein Sports Connect.