Atletico Madrid v. Real Madrid
Since losing in a late heartbreaker to Real Madrid in the Champions League final last May, Atletico has outdueled its crosstown rival in six straight matches in the 2014-15 season. It all began with the Spanish Supercup in August; the two teams drew 1-1 in their first match, with Atletico winning the award in a 1-0 replay victory three days later. Once the league season began, Atletico scored an early victory with a 2-1 result at the Bernabeu. The new year did Real no favors, as Atletico bounced the defending champions from the Copa del Rey 4-2 on aggregate. The most recent ignominy for Real was a 4-0 whitewash against their rivals in league play.
Now the defending European champions are forced to face their nemesis for the seventh and eighth time this season. Real has looked nothing like the world-beaters that was the only club to plow through Champions League group play with a perfect record. Schalke nearly completed a comeback in the second leg of the Round of 16 that would have bounced Real from the tournament, and they have six losses already in the 2015 calendar year. Of course, Atletico needed penalties to get past Bayer Leverkusen, but the head-to-head record doesn’t lie. The shine has vanished from Los Galacticos, and this could finally be Atletico’s season to emerge fully from the shadow of its longtime local tormenter.
PREDICTION: Atletico advances on away goals (4-4 aggregate)