MX23RW : Wednesday, October 20 12:36:59| >> :120:5655:5655:
Sep 9, 2017 at 12pm UK at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 67,789
Real Madrid
Vazquez (36')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Lopez (12')

Preview: Real Madrid vs. Levante

Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between champions Real Madrid and newly-promoted Levante.

Real Madrid will look to return to winning ways in La Liga when they welcome Levante to the Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon.

Los Blancos were held to a 2-2 draw by Valencia in their last league fixture before the international break, and they will welcome a Levante team that have made a positive start to the 2017-18 campaign.

Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane appears prior to the game between Real Madrid and Deportivo La Coruna on January 9, 2016© AFP

Real Madrid were actually trailing 2-1 to Valencia entering the latter stages of their clash at the Bernabeu last time out, but Marco Asensio came up with his second of the match to level the scores.

The champions were far from convincing against a free-flowing Valencia side, but it would be a major shock if Zinedine Zidane's outfit did not move onto seven points, and temporarily to the top of the table, with a victory against Levante.

Los Blancos have collected four points from their first two La Liga matches this season, following a 3-0 victory at Deportivo La Coruna with the 2-2 draw with Valencia. There has been no Cristiano Ronaldo to call upon this season, but the likes of Asensio and Isco have both been in wonderful form.

A busy September will see the Madrid giants face APOEL and Borussia Dortmund in the group stage of the Champions League, in addition to league matches against Real Sociedad, Real Betis, Alaves and Espanyol.

Real Madrid only lost once at home in the league last season, but they did draw four times, and Valencia have already taken home points off them this term. That said, it is a massive ask for Levante to upset the champions in the capital this weekend.

Zidane's side will enter Saturday's match having scored in their last 70 games in all competitions, which is the longest scoring streak ever in the top five European leagues.

Recent form: WD
Recent form (all competitions): WWWD


Jose Luis Morales competes for the ball with Lucas VAZQUEZ during the La Liga match between Levante and Real Madrid on March 02, 2016© Getty Images

Levante are back in La Liga after winning the Segunda Division last season. They finished rock bottom of Spain's top flight at the end of the 2015-16 campaign, but have bounced straight back, and will be looking to consolidate as a La Liga club once again.

Juan Muniz's side have made an extremely positive start to the new campaign – opening with a 1-0 win over Villarreal on August 21, before drawing 2-2 at home to Deportivo La Coruna before the international break.

Levante are expected to be one of the teams battling against the drop this season, but another positive result this weekend would make it a fine start to the 2017-18 season.

The Frogs actually made more than £10m in the summer transfer market by selling Victor Camarasa and Deyverson to Real Betis and Palmeiras respectively. Emmanuel Boateng, Cheick Doukoure, Enis Bardhi, Ivi Lopez, Mitchell Langerak and Oier Olazabal have all arrived to boost the squad, in addition to Samuel Garcia, who joined on a free transfer from Rubin Kazan.

A difficult run will see Levante face Valencia and Real Sociedad in their two matches after this weekend, and any points from their next three fixtures will be seen as a positive for the Valencia-based club.

Recent form: WD

Team News

Sergio Ramos gets involved with the shirtless action after the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid on May 28, 2016© Getty Images

Sergio Ramos is back for Real Madrid after serving a one-game suspension, and Zidane could shuffle his pack ahead of a busy run of fixtures.

Keylor Navas and Casemiro are both doubtful after missing training on Thursday, while Raphael Varane and Dani Ceballos are also on the sidelines for the Madrid giants.

Theo Hernandez is pushing for a spot at left-back as Zidane considers resting Marcelo, while Ronaldo's continued absence through suspension means that Asensio should start in the final third alongside Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.

Isco may be rested ahead of the APOEL clash, although there is also the option of dropping the Spaniard into a deeper position.

As for Levante, winger Jose Luis Morales is suspended, while Macedonian Bardhi will face a late fitness test following the international break.

Ivory Coast midfielder Doukoure also returned late after representing his country, and the summer signing will be assessed in the build-up to the game.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Casilla; Carvajal, Ramos, Nacho, Theo; Modric, Kroos, Isco; Asensio, Benzema, Bale

Levante possible starting lineup:
Fernandez; I.Lopez, Postigo, Rodriguez, Garcia; Gomez, Lerma; Jason, Bardhi, Boateng; Alegria

Head To Head

Levante have lost each of their last nine La Liga matches against Real Madrid, with their last success in this fixture coming back in September 2011.

They have not won at the Bernabeu in the league since February 2007, meanwhile, which is an indication of their task this weekend. Their last meeting in the capital ended in a 3-0 Real Madrid victory during the 2015-16 season.

What's more, Levante have not scored in their last three La Liga visits to the Bernabeu, with their last goal away to Los Blancos arriving in April 2013.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Real Madrid 3-0 Levante

Zidane is expected to shuffle his pack this weekend, but whichever Real Madrid XI takes to the field should be too strong for Levante.

Bale will be looking to make an impression as question marks continue to surround his long-term future at the Bernabeu, and we are backing the Welshman to get his name on the scoresheet in a 3-0 home win.

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A general view during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Real Zaragoza at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 30, 2011
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