Time: 1 PM CEST (Local Time)
Venue: Santiago Bernabéu; Madrid, Spain
Real Madrid are back in action at the Bernabéu after the international break halted the past week of play. Since then, Real have added more names to the injury list, almost becoming comical at this point the way the season has started out.
Real have drawn their last two matches while Levante have won both of their last two. Gareth Bale scored both goals against Villarreal last match and has been one of Real’s best players so far, he is unfortunately unavailable for this match.
Borja Mayoral will be making his return to the Bernabéu opposite of Real Madrid. He does not have the fear clause in his loan contract this time around, so he is eligible to play against his loaner team on Saturday.
Aside from bringing in Mayoral on loan again, Levante also added forward Sergio León from Betis. They also signed defender Rúben Vezo from Valencia, now one of Levante’s most expensive signings, after his loan stint ended.
As mentioned, Real Madrid are really getting hit hard by the injury bug in this early season. Asensio remains a long-term injury. Modric, Isco, and Valverde were all added to the list during the break, so Real only have three midfielders available. Hazard and Rodrygo are in the squad, but we’ll have to see just how much they are incorporated.
Levante will be without defender Rober Pier and right back Coke.
Gareth Bale is also unavailable on Saturday due to suspension, getting red carded in the last match against Villarreal.
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; James, Casemiro, Kroos; Vazquez, Vinicius, Benzema
The three midfield options included in the squad are most likely the exact trio we will see in Saturday’s match. Despite the injury disappointments, it’ll be great to see James likely get the start.
The forward options are also quite thin with Bale out. Hazard may not start since he has not played a match yet this season due to injury and they have a big match against PSG next week. The starting nod on the left could be given to Vinicius.
Vazquez will also likely start with Bale suspended.
Fernández; Miramón, Vezo, Postigo, Clerc; Rochina, Vukcevic, Campaña, Bardhi; Roger, Mayoral
Real Madrid—Levante 3-2
Real should be able to win this match, even given the injuries on-hand. It will be interesting though, as Levante have won more matches and are higher in the standings than Real so far.
With Barcelona also struggling early, Real need to start winning. Draws are hurting them since Atlético have won all three of their matches so far.
Losing Bale, considering how important he has been, hurts a lot. He rescued a point late in the Villarreal match and was the lone goal scorer twice.
Hazard, whether he starts or subs, can be a difference maker here and that’s who can lift the squad in light of the injuries and the Bale suspension. It’s why they signed him this summer, to be a force when he steps on the pitch.
Levante are fairly good defensively, especially with the Vezo signing, so a thin attack can hurt Real if they struggle to create. Real also have to watch their own defense, mistakes have already cost them this season.
It’s great to see LaLiga back in action after the break, regardless of result, though a win is absolutely desired. It’ll be interesting to see how Mayoral looks against his parent club should he start. James likely starting and an appearance from Hazard make this one to get excited about on Saturday.