MX23RW : Wednesday, June 16 15:34:42| >> :120:77254:77254:
Mar 16, 2019 at 3.15pm UK at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (Madrid)
Attendance: 65,054
Real Madrid
Celta Vigo
Isco (62'), Bale (77')
FT(HT: 0-0)

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

Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Real Madrid's home La Liga clash with Celta Vigo.

Zinedine Zidane will take charge of a Real Madrid match for the first time since the 2018 Champions League final when Celta Vigo visit the Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon.

Zidane's second spell in charge of Los Blancos started earlier this week and the Frenchman will be looking for all three points in this weekend's La Liga affair in the Spanish capital.

Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane being unveiled as Real Madrid manager for a second time on March 11, 2019© Reuters

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a tough season for Madrid. Zidane left last summer off the back of delivering three straight Champions League titles; Julen Lopetegui was his replacement, but the former Spain boss was sacked before the end of October.

Santiago Solari was Lopetegui's replacement and led Los Blancos to the 2018 Club World Cup, and there were some positive signs in the early stages of 2019 as the team went on a solid run of wins.

It has been a disastrous few weeks, though, with back-to-back home defeats to Barcelona over the space of three days ending their Copa del Rey hopes and leaving them off the pace in La Liga. Ajax then won 4-1 at the Bernabeu last week to knock the Spanish giants out in the Champions League round of 16.

It had been thought that Solari would be sacked following the defeat to Ajax, but that was not the case. Indeed, the club's former midfielder actually secured a 4-1 win over Real Valladolid in the league last weekend, which proved to be his final match in charge with Zidane now in the hotseat.

As it stands, Madrid are third in La Liga, some 12 points off leaders Barcelona. Unless something quite incredible happens, Zidane will not be able to reignite a title challenge. There is no question that second-placed Atletico Madrid will be in their sights, though, as Diego Simeone's side are just five points ahead.

In terms of what is to come, Madrid will finish the month at home to Huesca on March 31, before facing Valencia, Eibar, Leganes, Athletic Bilbao, Getafe and Rayo Vallecano in April. The team's final three games of the 2018-19 campaign are against Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Real Betis, and it would not be a surprise to see the Whites go unbeaten between now and the end of the season.

Their problems run deeper than the management, though, and chairman Florentino Perez will know that his team have to spend heavily in this summer's transfer market to be a force again next season.

It seems likely that a big-name forward will arrive as Cristiano Ronaldo was not adequately replaced last summer, but the club's first confirmed signing is Eder Militao from Porto, with the 21-year-old agreeing a six-year contract with the European champions.

Recent form: WWLWLW
Recent form (all competitions): LWLLLW

Celta Vigo

Maxi Gomez in action for Celta Vigo on September 1, 2018© Reuters

Celta have been present in each of the last seven La Liga seasons, but are facing the real possibility of dropping into the Segunda Division for the 2019-2020 campaign. Indeed, a total of 25 points has left them in 18th position entering Week 28 in Spain's top flight.

Six wins, seven draws and 14 defeats - that is how Celta have performed in the league this term. They were fairly solid in the first half of the campaign, but their form since just before the winter break has been disastrous.

Just one victory has arrived in their last 12 league fixtures; that was at home to Sevilla at the start of February, but they have lost four of their five since then, which has left them in a battle at the bottom of the table.

Celta's situation is far from terminal, though, as just one point separates them from 17th-placed Villarreal, while they are actually just five points off 15th and will still be confident of pulling themselves out of trouble.

It is no exaggeration to say that Iago Aspas's absence has seriously harmed the Sky Blues. The Spaniard has 10 league goals to his name this season, but has played just 24 minutes of league football in 2019 due to a troublesome calf problem.

Fran Escriba's team also have serious problems down the other end, though, with only Rayo Vallecano (48) and Levante (48) conceding more league goals this season. They do have a lot of talent in forward positions but always give the opposition chances, which is a concern considering their spot in the table.

Since 2000, Celta have faced Madrid on 26 occasions in La Liga and recorded just four wins, while Zidane's return to the Bernabeu means that it is probably the worst time to be facing the wounded giants.

Whether Escriba's team remain in the top flight this season is not going to depend on their result this weekend, but they have a huge game at home to Villarreal after the international break, before visiting fellow strugglers Huesca at the start of April.

Recent form: WLLDLL

Team News

Barcelona's Luis Suarez chases down Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos during El Clasico on March 2, 2019© Reuters

Sergio Ramos has missed Madrid's last two matches through suspension, but the Spaniard will return to the starting XI this weekend and there are expected to be some big calls from Zidane.

Vinicius Junior, Marcos Llorente, Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez remain unavailable through injury, but Gareth Bale is back from the ankle injury that forced him to miss the win over Valladolid and should start.

Casemiro is suspended, though, meaning that there could be a spot for Dani Ceballos alongside Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the middle of the park.

Elsewhere, Marcelo has been seriously out of favour in recent weeks but could be recalled at left-back, while Alvaro Odriozola and Marco Asensio are in line for starts, having also struggled for minutes under Solari.

There should also be a spot in the squad for Isco - another player to suffer under the previous regime.

As for Celta, Aspas is still on the sidelines with a calf problem, meaning that Maxi Gomez might be forced to play as the lone forward once again.

Gomez continues to be strongly linked with a move away from the club, and it would not be a surprise to see the Uruguay international move on even if Celta were to stay in the league.

Pione Sisto came off the bench against Sociedad last weekend and could start, while Wesley Hoedt will also be pushing for a spot in the XI.

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

Celta Vigo possible starting lineup:
Blanco; Mallo, Araujo, Costas, Junca; Boufal, Lobotka, Boudebouz, Yokuslu, Sisto; Gomez

Head To Head

Since 2000, the pair have met on 26 occasions in La Liga and Madrid lead the head-to-head 19 wins to Celta's four, with the remaining three fixtures finishing level.

In November, Los Blancos recorded a 4-2 win at the Balaidos, while the European champions thumped Celta 6-0 at the Bernabeu in the corresponding match last season.

Celta's last league victory at the Bernabeu was a 2-1 success in November 2006.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Real Madrid 3-0 Celta Vigo

It is a nice game for Zidane to start; Celta have really, really struggled for results in recent months and we expect Madrid to collect all three points in routine fashion.

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Gareth Bale pictured in February 2019
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