Atlético Madrid continue their search for Champions League qualification on Friday evening as relegation-threatened Mallorca travel to the Spanish capital.
Having dealt a seismic blow to Barcelona’s title hopes in midweek with a 2-2 draw in Catalunya, Diego Simeone’s side have the chance to, temporarily, open up a five point gap ahead of fourth-placed Sevilla with just a handful of games left to play.
Mallorca recorded their first win since football’s post-lockdown return in spectacular fashion on Tuesday evening, netting five against fellow strugglers Celta Vigo. Although, this victory still leaves the islanders five points adrift in 18th.
When Is Kick Off? Friday 3 July
What Time Is Kick Off? 21:00 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Wanda Metropolitano
TV Channel/Live Stream? LaLiga TV (UK), fuboTV (US)
Referee? Javier Alberola Rojas
Aside from the Croatian right-back Sime Vrsaljko, Atlético will be at full strength for Friday’s match. Club captain Koke and first-choice central defender Stefan Savic missed out of the trip to Barcelona through suspension and will, in all likelihood, return to the starting XI.
Mallorca’s 5-1 win against Celta brought a vital three points, but it also stripped the strugglers of two pivotal players through yellow card suspensions. Both Martin Valjent – the Slovakian centre-back who had previously started every La Liga game this season – and top scorer Ante Budimir will be sorely missed.
Atlético Madrid: Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Felipe, Lodi; Correa, Koke, Herrera, Saúl; Felix, Morata.
Mallorca: Reina; Pozo, Sedlar, Raillo, Gamez; Rodriguez, Sevilla, Mohammed, Kubo; Hernandez; Lago.
After fears that a side who so blatantly thrive on the crowd’s atmosphere would suffer in its absence, Atlético Madrid have been in superb form since the restart, picking up 14 points from a possible 18.
That run goes back to the Madrid derby on 1 February. Since that 1-0 loss at the Bernabéu, Atléti are unbeaten in all competitions, even knocking Liverpool of the Champions League shortly before the enforced hiatus.
Mallorca, on the other hand, have flirted with the relegation zone since August and have spent the past eight games on the wrong side of the perforated line.
Here’s how both teams have fared in their last five outings.
Barcelona 2-2 Atlético Madrid (30/6)
Atlético Madrid 2-1 Alavés (27/6)
Levante 0-1 Atlético Madrid (23/6)
Atlético Madrid 1-0 Real Valladolid (20/6)
Osasuna 0-5 Atlético Madrid (17/6)
Mallorca 5-1 Celta Vigo (30/6)
Athletic Club 3-1 Mallorca (27/6)
Real Madrid 2-0 Mallorca (24/6)
Mallorca 1-1 Leganés (19/6)
Villarreal 1-0 Mallorca (16/6)
There may be no fans in the Wanda Metropolitano for Simeone to conduct, but his side’s sensational record at home has continued since the restart. In all competitions this season, Atléti have suffered just one defeat on home soil.
Meanwhile, Mallorca have won just a single La Liga game on the mainland all season, losing 13 of the 16 they have contested to date.
Atlético are yet to receive the memo detailing the supposed shift away from home advantage seen in the behind-closed-doors Bundesliga and poor travellers Mallorca don’t seem to be the side to deliver this news.
Prediction: Atlético Madrid 2-0 Mallorca