MX23RW : Sunday, July 25 13:35:41| >> :120:66309:66309:
Jan 9, 2019 at 8.30pm UK at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (Madrid)
Attendance: 44,231
Real Madrid
3-0
Leganes
Ramos (44' pen.), Vazquez (68'), Junior (77')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Real Madrid vs. Leganes - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Real Madrid's Copa del Rey last-16 first leg against Leganes.

Leganes will be looking to dump Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey for the second successive season when the two teams meet in the last-16 stage of the competition.

The first leg of the affair takes place at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night, before Madrid visit Leganes for the second leg next week.


Real Madrid

Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari tells his side to focus against Real Sociedad on January 6, 2019.© Reuters

Madrid landed their fourth Club World Club at the back end of 2018, but the new year has not been kind to the European champions, who have picked up just one point from their two La Liga fixtures in 2019.

Santi Cazorla scored twice for Villarreal as Los Blancos were held at Estadio de la Ceramica last week, before Real Sociedad recorded a 2-0 win at the Bernabeu on Sunday night. As a result, Santiago Solari's side sit fifth in Spain's top flight and are now 10 points off the pace being set by leaders and indeed champions Barcelona.

It is extremely difficult to imagine Madrid challenging for La Liga this season, while there are certainly teams better equipped to win the Champions League. The Spanish giants have triumphed in Europe in each of the last three years, but a fourth seems almost impossible.

As a result, there is huge pressure on Madrid in the Copa del Rey this season. They have not actually won the competition since 2014 though, and as mentioned above, were dumped out of the competition by Leganes in the quarter-finals last season.

Los Blancos led 1-0 from the first leg of their last-eight affair, but Leganes picked up a 2-1 victory at the Bernabeu in the second leg to progress on away goals. Solari will be desperate to land the Copa del Rey this term, although it does seem that Madrid will have a new manager entering the 2019-2020 campaign.

Too many of Real's stars have been disappointing this season. It was always going to be difficult to cope without Cristiano Ronaldo, but the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have struggled, while even the brilliant Raphael Varane has found it difficult to put in consistent performances.

Madrid are not currently in crisis mode, but elimination to Leganes once again in the Copa del Rey would leave the Spanish giants facing the strong possibility of a trophiless campaign.

Recent form: WDWLWW
Recent form (all competitions): LWWWDL


Leganes

Oscar Rodriguez celebrates scoring for Leganes in their match against Barcelona on September 26, 2018© Reuters

Leganes might have knocked Madrid out of last season's Copa del Rey with a 2-1 win at the Bernabeu, but the team from the outskirts of the Spanish capital suffered a 4-1 defeat at Los Blancos in the early stages of the 2018-19 La Liga campaign.

Copa del Rey semi-finalists last season, Leganes have finished 17th in La Liga in each of the last two campaigns. Los Pepineros currently occupy 16th in Spain's top flight this term, and it does appear that they will once again be involved in a battle to stay in the division.

Leganes have only lost one of their last seven matches in all competitions, however, and that was a 1-0 defeat at Espanyol in the league on January 4. There is absolutely no pressure on Mauricio Pellegrino's side heading into this tie, which makes them dangerous opposition.

The capital outfit have a daunting run of matches to come, however, when considering that three of their next four games in all competitions are against either Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Levante have only lost seven of their 18 La Liga matches this term though, which is just one more than Real. They have also conceded just 21 times in Spain's top flight this season, which is fewer than their opponents in this match.

The Copa del Rey is not high on Leganes' list of priorities this season as their sole focus will be on securing another campaign of La Liga football. They have been in this position before, however, and know what it takes to beat a wounded Madrid over two legs of a Copa del Rey tie.

Wednesday's first leg will be absolutely key, though, as they look to stay in the contest ahead of the return fixture at the Estadio Municipal de Butarque next week.

Recent form: LWDLDW
Recent form (all competitions): WWDDDL


Team News

Toni Kroos in action for Real Madrid at the Champions League final on May 26, 2018© Reuters

Real Madrid's injury problems have worsened with the news that key midfielder Kroos is facing a spell on the sidelines with a groin injury.

Kroos joins Marco Asensio, Marcos Llorente and Mariano Diaz on the treatment table, while Bale will again miss out with a calf problem, leaving Solari short in the final third of the field.

Keylor Navas will replace Thibaut Courtois between the sticks, while there should also be starts for the likes of Federico Valverde, Dani Ceballos and Vinicius Junior.

Recent arrival from Manchester City Brahim Diaz is also available to make his debut for the European champions.

As for Leganes, Ezequiel Munoz and Michael Santos remain on the sidelines.

Javier Eraso scored against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in last season's Copa del Rey clash and is available, while Nabil El Zhar and Guido Carrillo should both start for the visitors on Wednesday night.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Navas; Odriozola, Nacho, Varane, Marcelo; Valverde, Ceballos, Casemiro; Isco, Benzema, Vinicius

Leganes possible starting lineup:
Cuellar; Nyom, Bustinza, Omeruo, Siovas, Silva; Oscar Rodriguez, Eraso, Vesga; El Zhar, Carrillo


Head To Head

As mentioned, Leganes beat Madrid in the quarter-finals of last season's Copa del Rey, with a 2-1 victory at the Bernabeu in the second leg seeing them progress on away goals.

Los Blancos recorded a 4-1 victory when the pair met at the Bernabeu in La Liga earlier this season, however, and have won six of their seven meetings in all competitions.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Real Madrid 2-0 Leganes

Real were poor against Sociedad at the weekend, but they are due a win and we expect the European champions to pick up a first-leg advantage at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night.



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Vinicius Junior celebrates the own goal during the La Liga game between Real Madrid and Real Valladolid on November 3, 2018
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