Casemiro celebrates his goal versus Atletico Madrid, (c) Real Madrid Twitter.

Predicted Real Madrid XI for the derby against Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid face Atletico Madrid and are looking to do the double over their rivals in La Liga for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

Real Madrid travel to the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday for the derby against Atletico Madrid. Los Blancos have a chance to win and close the gap on Los Rojiblancos to two points. With a defeat, they can go eight points behind their crosstown rivals having played a game more as well. La Liga’s defence could be on the line in this fixture for the visiting party.

Zinedine Zidane welcomes back Karim Benzema from his injury- a much-needed addition of the side’s goal-scorer into the 20-man squad. The Frenchman’s charges are unbeaten against Atletico Madrid in nine successive league matches and are yet to lose a single game at the side’s new home- the Wanda Metropolitano.

Thibaut Courtois will keep his place in goal for the Derby. The Belgian is second only to Jan Oblak in the standings for most league clean sheets. Courtois has been in respectable form throughout this season and will hope to keep another non-breached slate against his former side.

Sergio Ramos remains absent, but Zidane’s makeshift pairing of Nacho Fernandez and Raphael Varane has done a wonderful job lately. The duo has overseen four clean sheets in the last five matches and will be tasked with repeating the plaudits again. Despite Eder Militao’s return to fitness, Nacho and Varane will start in the heart of defence.

Ferland Mendy has been in great form lately. The former Lyon left-back has majorly improved his attacking gameplay, which will be key against a tightly defensive Atletico unit. He will start in his preferred role of left-back. The other fullback will be Lucas Vazquez. The less said, the better, about him, as his versatility always proves to be an asset.

Zidane’s gala midfield will look to be the differential once again. Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are all expected to start the derby. The trio is once again replicating its form from a few seasons ago, which is a positive sign for the side. Diego Simeone’s task will be to nullify the Real Madrid engine room which has proved decisive more often than not.

Marco Asensio has been in a bad run of form since a few months now but continues to have his manager’s trust. The Spaniard is likely to get the nod ahead of Vinicius Junior on the left flank, whereas the fully fit Rodrygo will start on the right side. Real Madrid are bolstered by Benzema’s return- as he will lead the line and captain the team on derby day.