Real Madrid do battle with Levante at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday in a tie that is poised to be more closely fought than the bookies suggest.
Zinedine Zidane’s men have not win another game since their brilliant 1-3 win over Celta Vigo at Balaidos on Match day 1. Real have failed to build on that result in their two subsequent outings, only managing lame draws against Real Valladolid and Villarreal.
Levante were one of five La Liga sides to turn over Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu in 2018/19 and will target a repeat performance and result against an injury ravaged Les Merengues.
The Granotas are unsurprisingly set as the underdogs but the team posted back to back league wins before the international break and will be full of confidence as they head to the Bernabeu with the hosts going to be without the services of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Isco among others.
Los Blancos are beset with numerous midfield injuries and doubts, with Luka Modric – ruled out for the rest of September – joining Arsensio and Isco on the treatment table. Brazil international Casemiro also remains a concern having only been able to partake in one training session before the Levante game.
A late red card for Gareth Bale at Villarreal means he will miss out on this Saturday’s action.
However, Eden Hazard is set for a return after a lengthy injury lay off and could line up together with Colombian James Rodriguez, who was quite close to an exit in the summer.
Levante head into this encounter one place and one point above Real in 4th having handed impressive defeats to Villarreal (2-1) and Valladolid (2-0) at home – the two sides which Madrid found tough to overcome.
Levante however are poor travelers with their 1-0 loss at Alaves on the opening day their ninth defeat from their last 12 La Liga matches on the road.
That aside, though, Levante are a decent side going forward. Paco Lopez’ men have netted in all but two of their last 14 La Liga games, bagging 26 goals in total across that period.
Levante had not pick a win at the Santiago Bernabeu since 2007 until last October when two first half goals from Morales and Roger Marti condemned a Julen Lopetegui-managed Real to an embarrassing 2-1 defeat.
Other than that, Los Blancos have won nine other matches at home to Levante, drawing just once.
The last five league meetings between the two sides have seen both found the back of the net.
Add to that Real’s leaky defence that had conceded in their last seven La Liga outings and in five of their last six at the Bernabeu, and fans can expect another high scoring encounter.