MX23RW : Tuesday, September 21 02:53:45| >> :120:13480:13480:
Oct 6, 2018 at 5.30pm UK at Estadio de Mendizorroza (Vitoria-Gasteiz)
Attendance: 19,461
Real Madrid
Garcia (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)

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

Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's La Liga clash between Alaves and Real Madrid, including team news, predictions and a full match preview.

Real Madrid could temporarily climb to the top of the Liga table this weekend when they take on Alaves at Estadio de Mendizorroza on Saturday.

However, Los Blancos will go into the game in poor form and face an Alaves team that could move level on points with them if the home side prevail.


Alaves manager Abelardo pictured in September 2018© Reuters

It has been quite the start to the season for Alaves, who would temporarily move level on points with both Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of the table if they pulled off a shock result on Saturday.

The Basque outfit are only in their third season back in the top flight, but a three-match winning streak last month - which included an impressive 5-1 triumph at Rayo Vallecano - has lifted them up to sixth in the standings after seven games.

It is unlikely that they will maintain their push, of course, but for a team whose main priority is to avoid relegation, the importance of three successive wins at any stage of the season cannot be overstated.

Alaves's last two results have brought them back down to earth a little - drawing 1-1 with Getafe and then losing to Levante last weekend - but they certainly would have taken this position had it been offered to them at the start of the season.

Levante joined Barcelona as the only teams to have beaten Alaves this term with that victory last Sunday, although Saturday's hosts will need to upset the odds if they are to prevent Real Madrid from adding their names to the list and condemning Alaves to back-to-back defeats for the first time since March.

Alaves are unbeaten at home so far this season, though, and will look to make it five successive games without defeat in front of their own fans this weekend - something they have not achieved since January.

The Babazorros are also welcoming Real Madrid at a very good time considering the recent form of Julen Lopetegui's side, so hope will be high that they can pull off an upset this weekend.

Beating Madrid is something they have not achieved since 2000, though, so if they do manage to move level on points with the European champions then it would be one of the more memorable results in the club's recent history.

Recent La Liga form: DWWWDL

Real Madrid

Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui gives orders on September 19, 2018© Reuters

Real Madrid's recent form has been a tale of missed opportunities in more ways than one.

Los Blancos come into this weekend's match having failed to score in any of their last three games across all competitions, making for their longest drought in front of goal for 12 years.

It is not like they are struggling to create the chances, though; Lopetegui's side have had 62 shots during their goalless spell, and an obvious conclusion to draw is that they are showing the first real signs of missing the prolific Cristiano Ronaldo.

Twenty-six of those shots rained in on the CSKA Moscow goal to no avail on Tuesday night as Madrid slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat in a competition they have dominated over the past three seasons, despite enjoying 72% possession and hitting the woodwork three times.

Madrid have also missed other opportunities in La Liga, failing to capitalise on Barcelona's own patch of poor form by only matching the defending champions' results over the past two games.

Barca's defeat to Leganes was followed by Madrid's chastening 3-0 loss to Sevilla, and a 1-1 draw between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao last weekend preceded a goalless Madrid derby with Atletico later the same day.

Victories in those two matches would have left Madrid five points clear at the top of the table, but as it is they remain in second place, still behind Barcelona on goal difference.

Madrid have not failed to win four games in a row since October 2016 - a run of four draws which led to questions over even Zinedine Zidane's future as manager - and Lopetegui will be acutely aware that prolonging the wait for victory will only increase the pressure on his shoulders, even this early in his reign.

The European champions have also only won one of their last seven away games across all competitions, losing three of those, and with their next away game after this weekend coming at Camp Nou in El Clasico, that is a record they will be desperate to improve upon against Alaves.

Not since September 2012 have Madrid lost three successive away games, which is a fate they could succumb to this weekend.

Recent La Liga form: WWDWLD
Recent form (all competitions): DWWLDL

Team News

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale celebrates scoring during his side's La Liga clash with Girona on August 26, 2018© Reuters

A scan of Gareth Bale's groin is understood to have shown no sign of injury, so the Welsh winger should be fit to return to the starting lineup on Saturday.

Bale - who was taken off at half time of the Madrid derby and subsequently missed the midweek defeat in Moscow - was included in the latest Wales squad, which indicates that he is available to play.

Madrid will be without Dani Carvajal after he picked up a muscle injury which forced him off in the first half against CSKA, though, which is likely to see Alvaro Odriozola come into the team and Nacho move to right-back.

The likes of Thibaut Courtois, Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric were all rested from the start in Russia and should return to the XI this weekend.

Alaves, meanwhile, are still without long-term injury absentee Rodrigo Ely, while Adrian Marin and Patrick Twumasi are also sidelined.

Alaves possible starting lineup:
Pacheco; Martin, Laguardia, Maripan, Duarte; Gomez, Pina, Garcia, Jony; Sobrino, Guidetti

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Nacho, Varane, Ramos, Odriozola; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Bale, Benzema, Asensio

Head To Head

Alaves have not beaten Real Madrid in any of their last 12 meetings stretching back to a famous 1-0 victory at the Bernabeu in 2000.

Madrid have won 11 of those 12 meetings since too, including each of the last nine in a row during which time they have only failed to score fewer than three goals on one occasion.

That came in the corresponding fixture last season when a Dani Ceballos brace handed Madrid a 2-1 win, before thrashing Alaves 4-0 in the reverse at the Bernabeu in February.

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We say: Alaves 1-2 Real Madrid

Alaves have made a really bright start to the season and Madrid are far from their best right now, really struggling to fire on all cylinders. We still expect the visitors to have enough to collect all three points, but it might be a tighter game than many of the previous meetings between these two sides.

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Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale celebrates scoring during his side's La Liga clash with Girona on August 26, 2018
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