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Atletico seeks retaliation against Real Madrid in capital derby

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Madrid, Nov 18 (IANS) Atletico Madrid will be hosting crosstown rival Real Madrid at its Vicente Calderon Stadium in round 12 of La Liga, which will be their first capital derby following the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League football final that Real Madrid won.

The derby will take place on Saturday after the international pause and will be the last between the two teams at the Vicente Calderon, as the

Atletico side will be moving to the renovated La Peineta stadium on the outskirts of the city as of next year, reports Efe.

Since the beginning of the season, coach Diego Simeone's men have not lost a game at the Calderon, while Real Madrid, leader of La Liga standings on 27 points, is the only team that has not suffered a defeat this season.

Currently, Atletico is fourth, four points behind Madrid.

Two weeks before El Clasico against Barcelona at the Camp Nou on December 3, Real Madrid, coached by Frenchman Zinedine Zidane, will have to play the Madrid derby without Germany midfielder Toni Kroos, who is recovering from a broken foot and Alvaro Morata, who picked up a muscle injury. Both will be sidelined until the end of the year.

Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric will return to the field against the Rojiblancos, who are seeking to keep their clean derby record, which stretches over the past three years.

This will be a chance for Atletico to avenge its defeat against the Merengues in the Champions League final last May, which in itself was a repetition to the 2013-14 final loss.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid is looking forward to sustain its place at the top of the standings, especially given that Barcelona is chasing in second place, just two points behind Los Blancos.

Barcelona has a good chance to win this week against Malaga, which holds the 10th position with just 15 points.

However, Uruguay forward Luis Suarez will not be present due to suspension, while the team might gain back the services of Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba after they both recovered.

On the other hand, Villarreal in the third place with 22 points will be visiting Athletic Bilbao, which holds the 7th place with 17 points.

On Saturday, Deportivo La Coruna will be hosting Sevilla, while Eibar will be facing Celta Vigo.

The 12th round will kick off on Friday when Real Betis hosts Las Palmas.

On Sunday Alaves plays Espanyol, while Valencia will host Granada, which failed to snatch a single win since the beginning of the season.

Sporting Gijon will welcome Real Sociedad, while the round will conclude on Monday with a match between Leganes and Osasuna.

--IANS

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