Real Madrid v Leganes- Preview and possible lineups
Things just seem to continue going from bad to worse for Santiago Solari, as his side took yet another hit to their league points tally at the weekend, by losing 2-0 at home to Real Sociedad. Therefore, with rivals Barcelona holding a ten point advantage over them in the league, the Copa del Rey represents 'Los Blancos' best chance at securing domestic silverware this season.
Regarding team news, key midfielder Toni Kroos is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a groin injury. The German joins Asensio, Llorente, and Mariano in the treatment room, while Gareth Bale is himself a doubt for the match as he continues to overcome a calf issue.
It is expected that Keylor Navas will start in between the sticks, as new number one Thibaut Courtois will be rested. A host of youngsters are set to start further up the field however, with Vinicius, Ceballos and Valverde all possibilities to play the full 90 minutes. Recent arrival Brahim Diaz could also make his debut for the club, that is if the relevant paperwork is sorted in time.
The Copa del Rey does not sit high on the list of priorities for Leganes, whom are more keen to focus all their efforts on staying in the top division of Spanish football come the end of the season. Nevertheless, they will still aim to get some sort of positive result from the tie at the Bernabeu, with them having the advantage of playing the second leg at home next week.
The visitors will hold hope of repeating their cup upset from last season, but will have to do so without Ezequiel Munoz and Micheal Santos, who remain sidelined with respective injuries. However one boost for Leganés will be the return of last season's cup tie hero Javier Eraso, as well as duo Nabil EL Zhar and Guido Carillo, who will also be available to start the contest.
Santiago Solari on cup ambitions and bouncing back to form:
"The cup is as important as every other competition. It’s very nice to play in and we’ll go out for the win from the first minute. We’ll have to be switched on against Leganes, especially in the opening stages, and be more decisive in the final third."
"Leganés are very solid and very well organised. We must be switched on, especially in the defensive transitions when they counterattack, and be accurate in attack to take advantage of the chances we create. We’ll go out to win every game to try to win the Copa del Rey".
Mauricio Pellgrino on the dangers of a wounded Madrid side:
" A team at a bad time can be more dangerous. That's why I don't give my prediction, we just prepare the match against a team that want to improve its situation. Everything will depend on what we do and our performance on the pitch."
"My great illusion is to play better away from home. On the other hand, history never plays, it was another moment, another coach. I haven't given Leganés much at the moment, but I hope to make people happy."
DID YOU KNOW?
Leganes knocked Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey at the very same stage of lat season's competition; a 2-1 win at the Bernabeu saw them advance on away goals.
Madrid won the equivalent league match between the sides this season; a convincing 4-1 win.
Madrid have won six of the last seven meetings between these two sides.
Real Madrid: Navas; Odriozola, Nacho, Varane, Marcelo; Valverde, Ceballos, Casemiro; Isco, Benzema, Vinicius
Leganes: Cuellar; Nyom, Bustinza, Omeruo, Siovas, Silva; Oscar Rodriguez, Eraso, Vesga; El Zhar, Carrillo