The latest bite-sized chunks of Real Madrid news ahead of their trip to Alavés as Julen Lopetegui looks to rekindle Los Blancos' menace in front of goal.
Back to Bale
Madrid will be looking for a fast-acting solution to their current frustrations in front of goal – Lopetegui’s side have now gone more than five hours without finding the net – and will rest their hopes on the shoulders of the returning Gareth Bale to find a solution. The Welshman has spent the past two days getting back up to speed and, after missing the trip to Moscow, has been passed fit to play. Bale’s four goals and three assists in eight games means he carries Madrid’s sharpest attacking threat.
The Mariano factor
In the last four games, Madrid’s attack have managed: 2,423 passes (1,083 in the opponent's half), 81 shots (22 on target and 59 wide of the mark) which have resulted in one goal, Asensio’s against Espanyol. These statistics have Lopetegui swaying in favour of starting Mariano. So far this season, Benzema has managed four goals in two games, while Mariano, yet to start and with limited minutes on the pitch, has managed a goal every 110 minutes - Bale has managed a goal every 163 minutes, Benzema one every 168.
Jaime Latre will be in charge of officiating Madrid’s visit to Alavés on Saturday evening. Latre has overseen five Madrid games, which have resulted in four wins and a draw for Los Blancos. Melero López will be in charge of VAR.
Marcelo, Isco and Carvajal
Despite the return of Bale and Ramos for the Alavés game, the Madrid first team remains depleted, with Marcelo, Isco and Carvajal all sidelined as they continue to recover from their respective injuries.
Madrid the clear favourites
Despite Madrid’s trials and tribulations in recent matches they are still favourites to take all three points against Alavés. On the thirteen occasions Los Blancos have travelled to Mendizorroza in LaLiga, they have won ten, drawn two and lost one. This defeat, however, occurred in 1931 as Alavés won 2-0 courtesy of two goals from Albéniz against the legendary Madrid keeper Ricardo Zamora.