Real are coming off that tough first leg against Bayern and will likely be sitting most of their starters. Escaping with the 2-1 lead in the aggregate from the Allianz Arena, Zidane will want to rest his men up before they hit the pitch again to close things out on Tuesday.
Speaking of Athletic, that’s exactly who Real faced off against in their last Liga outing. It was a 1-1 draw with Cristiano scoring in the 86th minute of action. Leganes drew 0-0 with Deportivo in their last match.
The last time these two sides met, at the end of February, Real walked away from the Butarque with a 3-1 victory over Leganes. Real will be looking to defeat them again here at home and carry that momentum into Tuesday’s huge match.
Some unfortunate news on Real’s side, both Isco and Carvajal will definitely be out for Saturday’s match and are questionable for Tuesday’s bout against Bayern. Both suffered injury in the 1st leg in Munich, Isco with a shoulder strain and Carvajal with a hamstring injury. They likely would have rested against Leganes anyways, but both are big losses if they miss out on the 2nd leg.
Nacho is still out with his injury that he sustained at the beginning of this month.
Leganes forward Alexander Szymanowski will be out for Saturday’s match while defender Ezequiel Munoz is questionable.
Casilla; Achraf, Vallejo, Ramos, Theo; Ceballos, Kovacic, Llorente; Vasquez, Asensio, Mayoral
I’m going with the youth movement lineup on this one, outside of Ramos of course. With such a big match on Tuesday and already missing Isco and Carvajal due to injury, I’m not taking any chances if I’m Zidane. This is a match to give Casilla some action and one where you really don’t need to play Navas.
Achraf should start in Carvajal’s place and may even need to do so on Tuesday. Vallejo will likely step in for either Varane or Ramos, I have Varane sitting and one will need to start with Nacho still missing. Theo should start in favor of resting Marcelo.
Ceballos and Llorente could both come in for Modric and Kroos, you want these two well-rested for Tuesday. Kovacic should take Casemiro’s place so he can rest.
The only true question of who to start on Saturday is in the Isco/Bale spot. If Isco does miss both matches, Zidane might choose to start Bale on Tuesday, reuniting the BBC once again. If that’s the case, I would think Vasquez features against Leganes so that Bale is properly rested and ready for Bayern, or vise-versa depending on who starts on Saturday. Ronaldo will likely be rested as well and Asensio should start in his place. I would also think if Benzema starts on Tuesday, he should be rested in favor of Mayoral.
Cuéllar; Zaldúa, Bustinza, Siovas, Rico; Pires, Pérez; El Zhar, Eraso, Amrabat; Guerrero
2-1 Real Madrid-Leganes
This is a match that could really go many ways. If Zidane really does rest most of the squad and starts the youngsters, Leganes may give them some trouble. That being said, I still think even the youngsters are prepared to take 3 points in front of their home crowd and prove themselves worthy.
To be completely honest, I don’t think Real is too concerned with the result of this match. Obviously, they will be playing for all 3 points but they’re not likely to sacrifice many of their starters to achieve them.
This is a match to give the youngsters some playing time and the regulars some much needed rest before they have to take on Bayern Munich again in hopes of advancing to the Champions League Final in Kiev. Real are essentially guaranteed a top 4 spot at this point in the league and are all in on a Champions League three-peat.
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM LA LIGA
Time: 18:30 CET, 12:30pm EST, 09:30am Pacific.
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain.
Available Streaming: BeIN Sports (USA),Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream, click here to sign up and benefit from a winter discount for new members and Managing Madrid readers).