MX23RW : Tuesday, February 5 14:07:48
Feb 3, 2019 at 7.45pm UK at ​Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (Madrid)
Attendance: 53,132
Real Madrid
Benzema (30'), Junior (80'), Mariano (90')
FT(HT: 1-0)

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

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

Real Madrid will be looking to make it five straight wins in all competitions when they welcome Alaves to the Bernabeu in La Liga on Sunday night.

Madrid currently occupy third spot in the table - 10 points off leaders Barcelona - while Alaves are enjoying a remarkable campaign and sit fifth in the division entering Week 22.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid duo Karim Benzema and Marcelo celebrate a goal against Girona in the Copa del Rey on January 31, 2019© Reuters

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a difficult campaign for Madrid. It was always going to be tough in the post-Cristiano Ronaldo era and the European champions are not in a title race this season, with Barcelona sitting 10 points clear of their Clasico rivals at the summit.

Real are also five points behind second-placed Atletico Madrid, having lost six of their 21 La Liga matches this term. The Whites will fancy their chances of clawing back some ground on Atletico, but it would have to be some collapse from Barcelona to allow Santiago Solari's side to challenge for the title.

There is no question that things are looking a lot healthier for Los Blancos at the moment, however, with a run of four straight wins in all competitions. Key players are also returning from injury at the right time, with the Champions League resuming this month and Real also making the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Indeed, Thursday's 3-1 win at Girona saw Madrid qualify for the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey with a 7-3 aggregate success. Solari's team have been drawn against holders Barcelona in the last four and they will be desperate to secure some domestic silverware, which has been hard to find in recent seasons.

The club have actually won their last three in the league, beating Real Betis 2-1 on January 13 before recording back-to-back victories over Sevilla and Espanyol in their last two.

Their next three matches, meanwhile, are season-defining. Indeed, they will travel to Barcelona for the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final next week, before visiting Atletico in the league next weekend. Solari's side will then travel to Ajax for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash on February 13.

The league title is surely beyond Madrid this season, but they will have the Copa del Rey crown in their sights and simply cannot be written off in the Champions League due to their incredible form in the competition.

Recent form: WDLWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WLWWWW


Alaves manager Abelardo pictured in September 2018© Reuters

Nine wins, five draws and seven defeats - that is how Alaves have performed in La Liga this season. A total of 32 points has left them in fifth position in the table, just four points off fourth-placed Sevilla entering Week 22.

Alaves have finished ninth and 14th in Spain's top flight in the last two seasons, but look capable of making a strong challenge for at least a top-seven position come the end of the campaign.

Alaves's position in the table is even more remarkable when considering that they have only scored 22 league goals this season, which is the fifth-worst record in the division. The Basque outfit have been tight defensively though, shipping just 24, which is a better defensive record than their opponents this weekend.

Abelardo's team have hit a bit of a slump in recent weeks, however, collecting just one point from the last nine available. Indeed, they drew with Girona on January 12 before losing 4-0 at Getafe and 1-0 at home to Rayo Vallecano in their last two.

Alaves are now just one point clear of sixth-placed Getafe, but they do have a very winnable run of fixtures to come. Indeed, after facing Real Madrid this weekend, they do not take on another of the league's giant teams until hosting Atletico at the end of March.

Jonathan Calleri and Borja Baston are the team's joint-leading scorers in the league this season with four each, while the likes of Tomas Pina, Burgui, Jony and Manu Garcia have chipped in from midfield.

It is a tough ask for Alaves to triumph this weekend when considering Real Madrid's form, but they did record a 1-0 win over Los Blancos in the reverse match on home soil earlier this season.

Recent form: DWWDLL
Recent form (all competitions): DWWDLL

Team News

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

Madrid will be without the services of both Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal through suspension. Varane received a straight red card in the 4-2 win over Espanyol last weekend, while Carvajal picked up a yellow in the same match, which led to a one-match suspension.

As a result, Alvaro Odriozola and Nacho will come into the back four for the home side.

Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio could both start having recovered from injury in recent matches, while Mariano Diaz is also available following a back problem.

Madrid have had a significant injury list in recent weeks, but Jesus Vallejo, as it stands, is their only first-team absentee as the defender is still out with a hamstring problem.

As for Alaves, Rodrigo Ely and Adrian Marin remain on the sidelines with knee and muscular problems respectively.

Pina is available, however, having missed their 1-0 defeat to Rayo last weekend through suspension.

Calleri and Baston will both start for the visitors this weekend, meaning that John Guidetti will have to make do with a spot on the bench once again.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Odriozola, Nacho, Ramos, Reguilon; Modric, Kroos, Casemiro; Bale, Benzema, Asensio

Alaves possible starting lineup:
Pacheco; Martin, Laguardia, Maripan, Duarte; Wakaso, M Garcia, Pina, Burgui; Baston, Calleri

Head To Head

As mentioned, Alaves recorded a 1-0 win over Madrid in the reverse match earlier this season. That said, Real thumped Alaves 4-0 when the pair last locked horns at the Bernabeu in February 2018.

The pair have met on seven occasions since September 2005 and Madrid lead the head-to-head six victories to one.

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We say: Real Madrid 3-1 Alaves

Real Madrid are on a roll at the moment while Alaves have lost their last two without scoring. We fancy Solari's team to put another three points on the board this weekend.

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Who will win Sunday's clash at the Bernabeu?

Real Madrid
Real Madrid
Vinicius Junior celebrates the own goal during the La Liga game between Real Madrid and Real Valladolid on November 3, 2018
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