Real Madrid vs Levante
(Spain – La Liga)
Start date: 14. Sep 2019, 16:00
Location: Madrid Venue: Santiago Bernabéu
Referee: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea, Spain
Real Madrid are back in action at the Bernabéu after the international break halted the past week of play. Since then, Real have added more names to the injury list, almost becoming comical at this point the way the season has started out.
Real have drawn their last two matches while Levante have won both of their last two. Gareth Bale scored both goals against Villarreal last match and has been one of Real’s best players so far, he is unfortunately unavailable for this match.
Borja Mayoral will be making his return to the Bernabéu opposite of Real Madrid. He does not have the fear clause in his loan contract this time around, so he is eligible to play against his loaner team on Saturday.
Aside from bringing in Mayoral on loan again, Levante also added forward Sergio León from Betis. They also signed defender Rúben Vezo from Valencia, now one of Levante’s most expensive signings, after his loan stint ended.
It is shaping up to be a very, very interesting season for Madrid in the league, and there is no question that the club will be looking to launch some sort of title challenge having struggled in recent campaigns.
Their recent European success has papered over some of the cracks at domestic level, but president Florentino Perez will be expecting a strong season after splashing the cash during the summer transfer window. A move for Paul Pogba did not come to fruition, though, which is perhaps Zinedine Zidane’s biggest frustration.
Eden Hazard could return from injury to make his first appearance this weekend, though, and there have been positive signs early on despite Madrid drawing their last two in the league against Real Valladolid and Villarreal.
Current Real Madrid squad is:
Forwards: Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, Mariano Díaz, Lucas Vázquez, Luka Jović, Vinícius Júnior
Midfilders: Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos, Isco, James Rodríguez, Casemiro, Lucas Silva, Marco Asensio, Federico Valverde, Brahim Díaz, Rodrygo
Defenders: Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Nacho Fernández, Raphaël Varane, Daniel Carvajal, Álvaro Odriozola, Ferland Mendy, Éder Militão, Javi Hernández, Adrián De La Fuente
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Alphonse Aréola, Toni Fuidias
Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Hazard, Benzema, Lucas
Promoted back to Spain’s top flight as Segunda winners in 2016-17, Levante have finished 15th in their last two La Liga campaigns. The Frogs were seven points clear of the relegation zone last season, although only 20th-placed Rayo Vallecano (70) conceded more league goals (66).
There was a big turnaround in terms of players over the summer, with the likes of Ruben Vezo, Sergio Leon, Gonzalo Melero and Nemanja Radoja arriving, while Ruben Garcia, Chema and Pedro Lopez moved on.
Levante started their campaign with a 1-0 loss at Alaves on August 18 but have beaten Villarreal and Valladolid in their last two – teams that have already taken points off Madrid this term, which will give the visitors confidence.
Current Levante squad is:
Forwards: Sergio León, Roger Martí, José Luis Morales, Borja Mayoral, Nerea Fernández
Midfilders: Nikola Vukčević, Toño, José Campaña, Ruben Rochina, Hernani, Nemanja Radoja, Enis Bardhi, Gonzalo Melero
Defenders: Coke, Óscar Duarte, Jorge Miramon, Carlos Clerc, Ivan Lopez, Sergio Postigo, Erick Cabaco, Róber Pier
Goalkeepers: Oier Olazábal, Aitor
Levante possible starting lineup:
Fernandez; Miramon, Vezo, Postigo, Clerc; Morales, Gomez, Vukcevic, Rochina; Marti, Mayoral