Preview: Real Madrid v Leganes

Real Madrid without Ronaldo

Real Madrid will aim to extend their perfect start in La Liga on Saturday, when they host a Leganes side in search of their first win.

La Liga

Date: 1 September 2018

Game week 3

Kick-off: 20H45 (GMT+2)

Venue: Santiago Bernabeu

Referee: Santiago Jaime

Assistants: Jorge Bueno, Fernando Tresaco

Fourth official: Antonio Monter

Head-to-head summary:


Real Madrid 6 5 0 1
Leganes 6 1 0 5

Previous encounter:

Real Madrid 2-1 Leganes 28/04/18 (La Liga)

Real Madrid goalscorers: G. Bale (8′), B. Mayoral (45′)

Leganes goalscorers: D. Brasanac (66′)

Players to watch:

Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema have been impressive in the opening two games of the season. Both men have already scored two goals each and will provide Leganes with a tough test defensively.

Leganes will be hoping their form player Nabil El Zhar can continue in the same vein after he bagged a brace in the draw with Real Sociedad last weekend. The 32-year-old winger was far from prolific last season, scoring only two goals in 30 games, but appears to be flourishing under Mauricio Pellegrino.

Team form and manager quotes:

Los Merengues have made a strong start to their league campaign this season by beating Getafe 2-0 in their opening game before a 4-1 thrashing of Girona last weekend.

After the two wins, Julen Lopetegui’s charges are level on points with arch-rivals Barcelona at the top of the standings and they will be determined to make sure they stay in touch with the defending champions this season.

In terms of team selection, Lopetegui opted to stick with goalkeeper Keylor Navas for the opening two games despite signing Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea. Asked about the decision, Lopetegui told Goal: “It’s not a situation that’s easy to understand, but it’s simple enough to explain. I’ve got some really good options in goal and there are no problems in that area. We’ll decide what’s best for each game.

“There’s great competition and that makes us stronger in the goalkeeping department. I’ve got some thoughts in my mind, but I’m not going to share them. Over the course of the season, I’ll look for solutions to solve the next immediate challenge.”

Meanwhile, the visitors are looking for their first win of the season. They lost 2-1 at Athletic Bilbao in their league opener and were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Real Sociedad last week Friday.

Leganes achieved their best finish in La Liga last season when they placed 12th. Los Pepineros have only been in the Spanish top-flight for three seasons. They were still competing in the third tier as recently as 2014 when they won promotion to La Liga 2.

Leganes manager Mauricio Pellegrino told the press before the game: “We competed with 19 teams and we believe that we can match all the La Liga teams, I think we are prepared to compete well, we have shown in San Mames and against Real Sociedad, we have made mistakes, we have done things well.

“What I have is that I have a competed and hardworking team, this is another test in which we are going to go for everything.”

Team news:

Real Madrid are expected to be without Jesus Vallejo due to injury.

Leganes could be missing Jose Manuel Arnaiz and Alexander Szymanowski, who are both doubts.