A win for Almeria could take them seven points away from the relegation zone, while Atleti will be looking to reignite their title charge and move back to within four points of Real Madrid.
Atletico Madrid will go into Saturday’s game with Almeria knowing anything less than a win may all but end their slim title ambitions.
Diego Simeone’s side were unable to replicate the performance that earned them a 4-0 victory over rivals Real Madrid earlier in the month, slipping to a 2-0 defeat to Celta Vigo last week and moving seven points behind the leaders.
Despite that setback,defender Jesus Gamez believes the champions are in a good position to retain their title:
“Right now, we’re in third position. We’re aware that there are many games to come and you can’t overlook your next opponent. It’s true that wins against Leverkusen, Sevilla and Valencia, if we do well, will leave us in a very good place,” he said at Thursday’s press conference.
“Being seven points behind Madrid and Barça is not disappointing for us.
We’re third at the moment. The team is doing a great job. Our objective remains the Champions League. We’ll see what we can fight for when the end of the league season approaches. We have a great group here, with big competition in every position.”
The home side will welcome Arda Turan and Raul Garcia back to the squad after both missed the last two matches through suspension, however Koke and Christian Ansaldi are still out through injury.
Los Rojiblancos have lost just once in their last 32 home matches and their opponents have never won at the Vicente Calderon in league competition.
However,Almeria are unbeaten in three league games, with the fifth best away record in the league, taking 16 points from 11 games on the road.
Juan Ignacio Martinez’s side earned a point with a battling draw against Real Sociedad last weekend and striker Tomer Hemed believes his side has every reason to be confident of getting a result in the capital:
“We’ll head for Madrid with the intention of doing a great job, as that’s the only way we’ll have any options of taking a positive result,” he said.
“We’ll need to have the same attitude we’ve had in our away games and try to keep a clean sheet for as long as possible, because I’m sure we’ll also have chances and we’ll have to make the most of them.”