Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live coverage of the match in La Liga between Eibar and Real Madrid
. After Tuesday's win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, confidence is high in the Real camp but can they record a third successive victory in all competitions? Let's see who has been selected in the two starting lineups...
REAL MADRID XI:
Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Isco, Bale, Ronaldo
REAL MADRID SUBSTITUTES: Casilla, Nacho, Benzema, Theo, Vazquez, Asensio, Kovacic
Dmitrovic; Ramis, Escalante, Capa, Inui, D. Garcia, Cote, Kike, Arbilla, Pedro Leon, Joan Jordan
EIBAR SUBSTITUTES: Riesgo, Pape Diop, Ruben Pena, Paulo, Charles, Ivan Alejo, Junca
Let's start by taking a look at the Real Madrid XI, with Zinedine Zidane
- as expected - opting to make a number of alterations. The most notable inclusion is that of Gareth Bale
, who is brought back into the team in place of Karim Benzema.
Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Isco are also handed recalls by Zidane, with Mateo Kovacic, Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio all dropping out of the side having featured against PSG.
Those changes are the four made by Zidane for this fixture, with the goalkeeper and back four remaining the same. Nacho and Theo Hernandez had been in contention to make an appearance but the pair must make do with a place among the replacements.
As for Eibar, Jose Luis Mendilibar
has decided to bring in Pedro Leon for just his second start of the campaign. Leon is a former player of Real, with 10 outings coming in all competitions between 2010 and 2012.
Fabian Orellana misses out for the home side having limped off against Deportivo La Coruna last weekend, but Japanese winger Takashi Inui
is handed a role in the starting lineup.
Top goalscorer Charles
is forced to make do with a spot on the bench, with Kike Garcia
entrusted with the biggest responsibility in attack. The 28-year-old has scored four goals since the start of 2018.
There has already been one fixture in La Liga this weekend, with Girona recording a 2-0 win over Deportivo on Friday night. The result is a significant one as far as Eibar are concerned, with the minnows now unable to move into sixth place with victory over Real this afternoon. However, seventh position is still possible. Click here
to see the league standings.
We'll start our build-up to this game by taking a look at Cristiano Ronaldo
. You've always wanted to know how the Portuguese superstar has fared against Eibar, haven't you? Well now you can find out by clicking here
Earlier in the season, Ronaldo came in for criticism for his lack of goals in La Liga but it's a different story now. The forward has scored 12 goals in his last seven outings in Spain's top flight.
Another of Real's strikers - Benzema - has also under-performed this season but Zidane has moved to defend a player who has spent the best part of a decade at the club, despite dropping him for this game. Click here
to read his thoughts.
Bale has been brought into the starting lineup as a replacement for Benzema. It comes after further reports emerged regarding the future of the attacker after he was only on the bench at the Parc des Princes. However, Zidane insists that he remains an important member of the squad
Much is made of Bale's injury record but how do his stats for this season look? It's fair to say that they could look better, but the Welshman has still made 24 appearances in all competitions, scoring 10 goals. It's not as bad as you thought, right?
Zidane is still allegedly fighting to keep his job at the Bernabeu, but Real's form has picked up since the turn of the year. In total, 11 wins and three draws have come from 17 matches in all competitions.
If you take a look at our Stat Centre
, you will also see that Real rank highly over the last six matches. Third place appears to be their most realistic target but at least they are trying to end the campaign with a flourish.
The same can be said of Eibar, who are looking to record their highest-ever finish in La Liga. Since earning promotion, the minnows have finished in 18th, 14th and 10th respectively, but they go into this fixture just four points - with a game in hand - off the top six!
All things considered, it's an incredible story. Given their history and ground size, they should not be anywhere near the top clubs in this division, but they are a win away from moving ahead of Villarreal. It really is a fairytale story.
Ipurua Municipal Stadium - which has a capacity of just 7,083 - has definitely helped their cause too. Eibar have already recorded 24 points from their 14 home matches this season. which includes wins over both Valencia and Sevilla.
They've also ran the top two close as well. Atletico Madrid only recorded a 1-0 win, while Barcelona were never in total control until Jordi Alba's goal two minutes from time ensured that the Catalan giants prevailed by a 2-0 margin last month.
Goals have been a bit of a problem for Eibar this season, and it seems a bit of a surprise that Mendilibar has kept Charles on the bench. Maybe the plan is to keep things tight and unleash the 33-year-old during the final quarter?
There have been two goals or less in eight of Eibar's last nine La Liga matches. However, there have been three or more goals in eight of Real's last nine matches in La Liga! Perhaps we will be left with a scoreline somewhere in the middle...
PREDICTION! Eibar have enjoyed a fine campaign but we cannot back against Real today. We are predicting that a couple of early goals will lead to a comfortable 90 minutes for Zidane's men. Real to win 3-0.
HEAD TO HEAD! Since 2014, there have been seven matches between the two sides, with Real winning all but one of them! Eibar's one draw came at the Bernabeu in 2016.
During those seven fixtures, Real have netted as many as 21 goals in comparison to just two for Eibar. However, on the plus side, those two strikes have come in the last three fixtures.
The reverse fixture in October was comfortable enough for Real. Asensio and Marcelo both got on the scoresheet in a 3-0 win. Click here
to read back on that match.
It's time for the two teams to make their way out onto the pitch. As you can imagine, there is a sizeable crowd in attendance for this one but the stadium does not appear to be full to capacity.
A reminder of the two sides...
EIBAR XI: Dmitrovic; Ramis, Escalante, Capa, Inui, D. Garcia, Cote, Kike, Arbilla, Pedro Leon, Joan Jordan
REAL MADRID XI: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Isco, Bale, Ronaldo
KICKOFF! Eibar get us underway.
CHANCE! What a start from Eibar. Straightaway, they cause problems inside the Real penalty area and after the ball deflects up into the air, Leon sends a free header over the bar from 12 yards.
Soon afterwards, the home side win a corner but Leon's inswinging corner goes over everyone's heads and out for a goal kick.
Real are not enjoying the start to this game. They are barely getting a touch on the ball and fouls are already been committed. Kike has also just failed to make the most of an opening in the 18-yard box.
Better from Real as Modric gives Ronaldo some space to work on the right flank. The forward looks for Bale but a defender gets across to divert the ball behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.
I predicted that Eibar would be happy to sit back and play on the break, but the home side are dominating possession and making Real feed off scraps. It's still early days, but the minnows are matching their more illustrious visitors in every department.
Kroos is instructing Real's defence to move up the pitch and he's spot on. They are sitting far too deep and it is only encouraging Eibar.
Eibar win another corner after good pressure from Leon but the set piece comes to nothing. Eibar are still not taking a backwards step and Real are having to show the ugly side of their game to cope.
We've barely seen anything of Bale and Ronaldo. Real are lining up with the pair as a front two with Isco in behind, but the diamond isn't working for Zidane's men and Eibar are exploiting the space in wide positions.
Such is the struggle for Real is that they are opting to go long with increasingly regularity. It's playing right into the hands of their hosts. Still no more shots to speak of, however.
SHOT! What a fantastic move from Eibar, which heavily involves Inui and Garcia. The pair exchange passes around 30 yards out before Garcia's curler is tipped behind by Navas.
We are going to have a break in play after a clash of heads between Varane and Kiki Garcia. Real need this stoppage to get re-organised.
We are back underway with Eibar in possession. Real are still to have a shot on goal, which is remarkable.
Bale gets in behind the Eibar defence and his cross is headed into the path of Isco at the back post. The playmaker should probably pass but opts to shoot, seeing his half-volley blocked by a defender.
There are a few signs that Real are starting to liven up. Bale is a willing runner and he is starting to be rewarded for his work-rate in the final third.
SUBSTITUTION! The head injury sustained by Varane means that he needs to be substituted. Nacho is on in his place.
CHANCE! After Eibar win a free kick on the right flank, Leon's excellent outswinging delivery finds Jordan all on his own. However, his header is sent wide of the post from 12 yards.
BOOKING! Bale goes into the book for what is alleged to be a high challenge on Escalante, but it's such a harsh caution. It was Bale who got kicked!
CHANCE! Finally - an opportunity for Real. Bale gets in behind the defence and sees his effort well blocked by Dmitrovic. Ronaldo has the chance to score from the rebound but a defender gets back to make an important challenge.
GOAL! Eibar 0-1 Real Madrid (Cristiano Ronaldo)
Just like that, Real take the lead. Eibar gift possession to Modric, who plays a sublime 40-yard pass to Ronaldo with the outside of his foot. The forward is in on goal and he makes no mistake when firing the ball inside the near post from 12 yards.
Eibar must find a way of ensuring that they do not fall further behind before the break but to their credit, they are straight back onto the attack. Another corner is won on the right flank, but Real are able to deal with the danger.
Again, Eibar plough forward in numbers with Escalante trying his luck form all of 30 yards. The ball almost deflects into the path of Garcia but Real just about do enough to clear the threat.
CHANCE! It should be 2-0. Real win three corners in succession and the third leads to a free header for Ramos, who miscues his effort well wide of the target.
SAVE! What a save from Dmitrovic! Ronaldo bides his time on the edge of the area before getting a shot away from 20 yards, which is deflected. However, the Serbian stopper sticks out a hand to tip the ball over the crossbar.
SHOT! Modric is becoming increasingly influential in this game and after dancing past two players, the Croatian curls a shot straight into the hands of Dmitrovic. There will be one minute of added-on time.
HALF TIME: Eibar 0-1 Real Madrid
The half-time whistle goes and Real hold the advantage in this game thanks to Ronaldo's goal during the latter stages of the first period. It's harsh on Eibar, who have made most of the running in this match.
Ronaldo's effort - his 13th in eight matches - came as a result of a Eibar mistake but it was brilliantly created by the outside of Modric's boot. The 40-yard pass was perfect and Ronaldo kept his composure to drill the ball into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Despite trailing at the break, Eibar will be delighted with their performance in the first half. The chances they have created have not always been clear-cut ones but they have troubled the Real backline on several occasions.
The star performer of the half has probably been Modric. The playmaker has not played since February 14 but his fitness does not appear to be an issue and he is beginning to control this match.
KICKOFF! Real get us back underway.
It's been a pedestrian start to this second half. Real are happy to spend more time on the ball, as was the case at the end of the opening period.
SAVE! This certainly wasn't a shot from Escalante but Navas is required to tip the over-hit cross behind for a corner.
GOAL! Eibar 1-1 Real Madrid (Ivan Ramis)
What scenes! Eibar equalise from the set piece with Ramis powering a header into the bottom corner after meeting Leon's corner! It's very much game on.
Real were not expecting that. It has sharpened their concentration because they have immediately set about trying to regain the lead.
SHOT! Modric is again in the thick of the action and sets up Ronaldo, but the forward puts the sharp chance over the crossbar with the outside of his boot. Difficult opportunity.
CHANCE! Modric has been terrific this afternoon and the midfielder nearly marks his performance with a stunning individual goal. He ran directly towards the defence and after moving into the penalty area, a shot from 12 yards was dragged wide of the far post.
Eibar have started to retreat back into their own final third and it is leaving Kike Garcia
isolated up the other end of the pitch. They need to be careful not to invite too much pressure.
That said, with an hour gone, Eibar are 30 minutes away from one of the biggest results in their history. Real are still favourites to prevail here but they are being made to work for everything.
CHANCE! My word, how has Dmitrovic saved this! Bale sends a pass across goal and Ronaldo must score from 12 yards. However, the goalkeeper guesses right and tips his shot wide of the post.
CHANCE! From the resulting corner, Bale is found in the penalty area but his glancing header goes just wide of the far post. Real are really starting to press here. Are Eibar tiring?
Real are making Eibar chase a lot of balls now and you feel that it is starting to have an effect. The home side are not as lively as they were during the opening period.
SUBSTITUTION! Eibar are being forced into a change, with Ramis picking up an injury and being replaced by Oliveira.
Real just had a chance to work a two-on-two opportunity through Ronaldo and Bale, but Ronaldo decided against passing to his teammate and saw his shot blocked.
SUBSTITUTIONS! A double change from Real sees Kroos and Isco replaced by Vazquez and Benzema.
Real are still in control of possession and are making all of the running, but the chances are beginning to dry up. Have Eibar managed to weather the storm?
Out of nowhere, Modric plays Navas into trouble and the goalkeeper has to make a rushed clearance with Kike Garcia closing in. The forward takes a knock in the process but is fine to continue.
CHANCE! Almost a second for Eibar! The ball is headed back into the path of Inui but the winger is not big enough to control his header and sends it high over the crossbar from eight yards.
CHANCE! Defender Oliveira almost scores a worldie! After the corner reached the substitute, he attempted an overhead kick but it went straight into the hands of Navas!
CHANCE! I tell you what, Eibar are not settling for a draw. A third opportunity is created in the space of four minutes and it's the best of the lot with Kike Garcia getting in down the left-hand side of the area. However, he rushes his shot and it goes wide of the near post.
Eibar are still making all of the running and Real are being forced to retreat! No-one expected this. I feel that there is still a winning goal in this match.
GOAL! Eibar 1-2 Real Madrid (Cristiano Ronaldo)
There it is, probably. Like with the first goal, Eibar concede possession far too easily and after Carvajal finds Ronaldo, the forward does the rest with a header into the roof of the net from eight yards out.
All of a sudden, Real look more likely to get a third rather than Eibar finding an equaliser. Just the three minutes to go.
Almost a chance for Jordan but the Eibar player's shot was half-deflected and it enabled Navas to make an easy save.
There will be three minutes of added-on time.
Eibar are continuing to push forward but Real look like they are going to see this match out. They have been pushed all of the way.
FULL TIME: Eibar 1-2 Real Madrid
The full-time whistle goes and Real have clung on for an important three points against a well-drilled Eibar side. Ronaldo's double proved to be the difference between the two sides and Real now sit just four points adrift of Atletico, who are in second.
That will be all from Sports Mole
for this match. Thank you for joining us this evening and we hope to see you again soon.
If you would like to read the on-the-whistle report from this afternoon's match, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.