Malaga vs. Real Madrid 2012: Preview and TV schedule

Jasper Juinen

Malaga host Madrid in what is easily the week's must watch match in La Liga

Manuel Pellegrini would love nothing more than to prolong Real Madrid's struggles and stick it to Jose Mourinho, a man he's never seen eye-to-eye with. His Malaga side will get that chance when they host Los Blancos today. Malaga are reeling from a UEFA financial fair play ban that will prevent them from playing in either the Champions League or the Europa League the next time they qualify, but they'll still be looking to finish as high as possible in the league.

Madrid's league season is on the edge of a cliff as Barcelona have opened up a massive 13 point lead over their rivals in the table. At this point, they certainly won't quit but Madrid's focus seems likely to be on their attempt to with their 10th European Cup rather than catching Barca. They'd never admit this publicly of course, at least not yet, but if they aren't thinking that way I think we'd all be shocked.

With his side struggling at the moment, Malaga is hardly the first choice for Mourinho to play as his team heads in to the winter break. Los Boquerones have the best defensive record in La Liga and have been playing extremely well both in the league and in Europe. Mourinho will be boosted by the return of Karim Benzema.

There's no question this is the "must watch" of this week's La Liga schedule. If you don't watch any other games from the league, make some time for this one.

An interesting note for US fans. With Malaga's captain Weligton suspended, Oguchi Onweyu is expected to start in his place.

Malaga injuries and suspensions

Out: Weligton (suspended), Julio Baptista (foot), Jeremy Toulalan (thigh). In doubt: None.

Real Madrid injuries and suspensions

Out: Raphaël Varane (muscle), Raul Albiol (ankle), Marcelo (foot), Gonzalo Higuaín (hamstring) In Doubt: Fábio Coentrão (muscle).

Malaga's captain Weligton is out serving a yellow card accumulation suspension while Baptista and Toulalan remain sideline with various ailments. Madrid remains without Albiol, Marcelo and Higuain but Favio Coentrao should be available.

Match Date/Time: 9 p.m. local, 2:00 p.m. ET

Venue: Estadio La Rosaleda, Málaga, Spain

TV: beIN Sport (U.S.), Sky Sports 4 (U.K.)

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