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Real Madrid prepare to meet Atletico in Copa del Rey showdown

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What an absolute cracker of a tie we have in Spain's Copa del Rey in the first week of the New Year.

El Clasico aside, there aren't any bigger games in Spain than the Madrid derby, and this one will be no different with the winners expected to face Barcelona in the next round.

After having an Indian sign over neighbours Atletico for years, Real can now count the Champions League final win as their only success against the Rojiblancos in the last five.

Turning tables

Given that for 90 minutes Los Blancos were outplayed with their opponents running out of steam once Sergio Ramos had headed home a 92nd minute equaliser, arguably Atletico have completely turned the tables.

Diego Simeone's side were the last team to deny Real a victory, and if they were to do so again, it would deny Carlo Ancelotti's men the chance to equal a Guinness World Record of consecutive wins, currently held by Coritiba.

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Another victory at the Vicente Calderon, and Real can set a new benchmark in the following fixture, at home against Espanyol.

Let's take a look at three things that could decide this epic contest...

Form guide

Much has been made of Real Madrid's epic winning run but in Atletico they come up against a team that have 14 wins and only 3 losses out of the last 19 themselves.

Playing on Real's mind will surely be the knowledge that Diego Simeone's charges have their number.

A bouncing Vicente Calderon will provide an intimidating cauldron, and aside from extra time in the Champions League Final, Atletico haven't been behind against Los Blancos in the last five matches.

Real will need to continue to be at their absolute best to effect a change in the recent status quo.

The return of El Niño 

The script couldn't have been written any better. One of Atletico's favourite sons, Fernando Torres, returns to the club of his youth just in time to make debut against their fiercest rivals.

It's the type of scenario that headline writers dream about and Torres will be champing at the bit to prove the doubters wrong.

Guaranteed goals from Los Blancos

Cristiano Ronaldo is at the forefront of a charge by Real Madrid to tear up the record books.

As long as Real have beaten Valencia, then this fixture represents one where they can equal the World Record for wins.

With an unheard of 88 goals in all competitions already this season, the "BBC" and just about every other Real Madrid player will take some stopping.

Game on!

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Topics:
La Liga
Real Madrid
Football

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