Real, Atletico play in Champions League with eye on Madrid derby (Preview)

Madrid, Sep 29 (IANS) Spanish sides 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 La Liga is scheduled to be played on Sunday and both coaches will look to keep their stars players fresh, 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.

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

Atletico meanwhile are at home to Portuguese side Benfica in a game which could decide who eventually wins their qualifying group. Atletico won their opening game away to Turkey’s Galatasaray, but looked flat and off the pace as they slipped to a 0-1 league defeat away to fellow Spanish side 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.

Midfielder 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 defence.

Benfica have several former Atletico players, such as Mexican striker Raul Jimenez and he, along with forwards 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.

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