Valencia vs Real Madrid: preview, team news

Valencia host Real Madrid at Mestalla as Zinedine Zidane's men prepare to face a tough pair of games against Los Ches and Barcelona in the space of three days.

Valencia vs Real Madrid: preview, team news

Real Madrid have a chance to go two points clear at the top of the table when they face Valencia at the Mestalla on Sunday (kick off, 21:00 CET).

With Barcelona being held to a draw against Real Sociedad on Saturday, a win will see Zinedine Zidane’s men become outright leaders just three days ahead of the hotly anticipated Clásico at Camp Nou.

But that is far from a given considering Madrid have only managed to win one of their last five games against Los Ches, who were 2-1 victors when two sides last met at Mestalla back in April.

Eight-placed Valencia come into the game having won four of their last five fixtures and will be confident they can see off Madrid once again at home, where they are still unbeaten this season. Victory for Albert Celades’ men would move them to sixth and one point fourth-placed Getafe in the battle for the Champions League spots.

Zinedine Zidane has carried a 19-man squad to Valencia, which includes Casemiro. The Brazilian midfielder has lined out for more minutes this season than any other Madrid player, playing 96% of the total available. Although the French coach may opt to rest the 27-year-old stalwart as he is at risk of missing the Clásico should he pick up another yellow card.

Valencia predicted XI vs Real Madrid

Starting XI: Jaume, Gayá, Paulista, Garay, Wass, Parejo, Coquelin, Ferran Torres, Soler, Rodrigo, Manu Vallejo

Subs: Rivero, Correia, Jaume Costa, Diakhaby, Esquerdo, Kondogbia, Sobrino

Real Madrid predicted XI vs Valencia

Starting XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Militao, Valverde, Casemiro (?), Isco, Kross, Rodrygo, Benzema

Subs: Areola, Nacho, Odriozola, Modric, Bale, Vinicius, Jovic

Valencia vs Real Madrid: Injuries and suspensions

Albert Celades has an extensive list of unavailable players, with Cristiano, Piccini, Goncalo Guedes, Lee Kang-In, Jasper Cillesen, Maxi Gomez, Kevin Gameiro all missing through injury, while Denis Cheryshev is doubtful.

Zinedine Zidane is also without a number of players through injury, with Eden Hazard, Marcelo and long-term injured trio Marco Asensio, James Rodriguez and Lucas Vazquez all unavailable. French full-back Ferland Mendy is suspended for a red card picked up in Madrid’s last game against Espanyol.

Valencia vs Real Madrid: What the managers said

Albert Celades (Valencia): “I don’t think [having the Clásico in three days] will affect them. When you are at a club like [Real Madrid] there is maximum demand every three days. They know they are coming to Mestalla, which is a field of the highest demands. But they are used to not only winning every three days, but playing well and putting on a show.”

Zidane speaks to the media ahead of Real Madrid's clash with Valencia.

Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid): “It's another challenge. They've been playing well and getting good results, and the other day they booked their place in the Last 16 of the Champions League. We know how we are up against. We want to show the best of ourselves because we have a game tomorrow - the next game, the only one that interests us right now and we have prepared for it - as we always do, by trying to grow as a team and improve individually as players.”