MX23RW : Wednesday, December 19 12:20:21
Oct 20, 2018 at 12pm UK at ​Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (Madrid)
Attendance: 63,423
Real Madrid
1-2
Levante
Marcelo (72')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Luis Morales (6'), Marti (13' pen.)

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

Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full match preview of Real Madrid's home La Liga match against Levante.

Real Madrid will be looking to win a football match for the first time since September 22 when they welcome Levante to the Bernabeu this weekend.

Indeed, Los Blancos are without a victory in their last four matches in all competitions and face a potentially-tricky clash against a Levante side that has won their last two in La Liga to rise into 11th position in the table.


Real Madrid

Marco Asensio in action for Real Madrid on September 29, 2018© Reuters

There were always going to be teething problems for Madrid in the post-Cristiano Ronaldo era, but the European champions would be in full-blown crisis mode if they did not return to winning ways against Levante this weekend.

All was rosy at the Bernabeu after Madrid won their first three La Liga matches of the 2018-19 campaign, but just one victory from their last five league fixtures - including two defeats - has led to criticism of new head coach Julen Lopetegui.

As mentioned above, Los Blancos have not actually been victorious in Spain's top flight since a 1-0 win over Espanyol on September 22. Indeed, they have lost at Sevilla and Alaves in their last two away matches, and drew 0-0 with Atletico Madrid in their last league fixture at the Bernabeu at the end of last month.

The fact that Madrid have only scored once in their last four matches is perhaps even more worrying, and Lopetegui's side have the small matter of El Clasico away to Barcelona to think about next weekend. Another poor result against Levante would place incredible pressure on Madrid ahead of the clash at Camp Nou.

For all of Madrid's recent success in Europe, there is no getting away from the fact that the capital giants have only lifted the La Liga trophy once since 2012. They were well off the pace set by Barcelona last term, but fortunately for Madrid, the teams around them have also had wobbles this term.

Indeed, Los Blancos might sit fourth in La Liga, but they are only two points off the leaders Sevilla and just one point off second-placed Barcelona. It could and perhaps should have been much worse, but Barcelona host Sevilla this weekend, and Madrid will be looking to capatilise at the Bernabeu.

Each of the last two La Liga matches between Madrid and Levante have finished level, however, including a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu last term. It is a match that the European champions dare not lose, but also simply have to win.

Recent form: WDWLDL
Recent form (all competitions): WWLDLL


Levante

Promoted from the Segunda Division as winners in 2017, Levante secured another season of La Liga football by finishing 15th in the top flight last term. The Frogs have now been present in eight of the last nine La Liga campaigns and will be looking to secure another season of top-flight action.

Paco Lopez's side opened their 2018-19 La Liga season with an impressive 3-0 win at Real Betis, before losing to Celta Vigo and drawing with Valencia in their next two. At that stage, four points from three matches represented a strong start to the season for the club formed in 1909.

Levante lost three La Liga games on the spin between September 16 and September 27, however, including a 6-2 home defeat to Sevilla. Lopez's team have bounced back in impressive fashion though by overcoming Alaves and Getafe in their last two to move into 11th position in the table.

The Frogs are only two points off the top seven, and as mentioned above, certainly know what it takes to pick up positive results at the Bernabeu. Indeed, they held Madrid to a 1-1 in the Spanish capital last term, and also shared the points with Los Blancos on home soil back in February.

Levante will look to the likes of Roger Marti for goals this weekend, with the Spaniard managing four in his six La Liga appearances this term. Madrid have not exactly been water-tight at the back this season, and Marti will be looking to take advantage of the home side's problems.

The Valencia-based outfit have impressed on their travels this term - beating Betis and Getafe, and narrowly losing to Espanyol and Real Valladolid - and they will be full of confidence ahead of the match following back-to-back wins.

Recent form: DLLLWW


Team News

Gareth Bale celebrates scoring for Real Madrid on August 19, 2018© Reuters

Gareth Bale has been training alone in a bid to feature for Madrid, having been troubled by a groin problem since last month. The Welshman might not be risked from the start, however, even if he can prove his fitness.

Karim Benzema is also struggling with a hamstring problem, while Isco is unlikely to be risked as he continues his recovery from appendicitis.

As a result, Mariano Diaz could be handed a start through the middle, with Lucas Vazquez also selected alongside Marco Asensio.

Dani Carvajal's absence with a calf problem will see Nacho switch to right-back, with Marcelo returning on the opposite side having recovered from a muscular complaint.

As for Levante, head coach Lopez has no fresh injury concerns from the team that started the 1-0 victory at Getafe before the international break.

Jose Luis Morales is so often the catalyst for Levante, and the 31-year-old, who has three La Liga goals to his name this term, will start in attack.

Enis Bardhi will also be pushing for a start having come off the bench to score the winner against Getafe last time out. Armando Sadiku and Coke, however, remain long-term absentees for Levante.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Nacho, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Asensio, Mariano, Lucas

Levante possible starting lineup:
Oier; Cabaco, Postigo, Rober; Jason, Prcic, Rochina, Gomez, Tono; Morales, Marti


Head To Head

As already discussed, both La Liga matches between the two teams last season finished level, including a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu in September 2017.

Madrid's last home success over Levante was a 3-0 win back in October 2015, and they have not actually lost to the Valencia-based outfit since October 2014.

Levante's last away league victory over Madrid, meanwhile, was a 1-0 success back in February 2007, with Salva Ballesta scoring the only goal of the match.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Real Madrid 2-0 Levante

Madrid have had their problems in recent weeks, but this is a nice fixture for Los Blancos as they look to return to winning ways. We are not expecting many goals, but fancy the home side to collect all three points at the Bernabeu.


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Who will win Saturday's La Liga clash at the Bernabeu?

Real Madrid
Draw
Levante
Real Madrid
68.6%
Draw
17.1%
Levante
14.3%
Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema celebrates scoring during his side's La Liga clash with Girona on August 26, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona16104246192734
2Sevilla1694329161331
3Atletico MadridAtletico1687124121231
4Real Madrid169252419529
5Real Betis167451918125
6AlavesAlaves167451817125
7Getafe166641712524
8Levante166462730-322
9GironaGirona165651719-221
10Celta Vigo165652824421
11Espanyol166371823-521
12Real Valladolid165561518-320
13EibarEibar165562024-420
14Valencia1631031313019
15Real Sociedad165471819-119
16Leganes164661519-418
17Villarreal163671721-415
18Athletic Bilbao162951523-815
19Rayo Vallecano1624101531-1610
20Huesca1615101432-188

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