La Liga Preview: Real Madrid vs. Hércules

In the build up to their mid-week second leg match up against Lyon, Real Madrid will first welcome Hércules to the Santiago Bernabéu on Saturday evening.

“We want to remain perfect at the Bernabéu. A solid match will boost our confidence before playing against Lyon.”– Mourinho

Real Madrid have been impressive at home this season and is one of two teams to remain undefeated at home from the top five European leagues but is the ONLY team that can boast of a perfect home record.  But, should be wary of the potential upset awaiting them in the form of Hércules, that Mourinho stated “have done some big things this year”, one of which caught the world off guard when they picked up an impressive victory against defending champions Barcelona IN the Camp Nou.  The herculanos, however, has since then failed to win another game on the road.  In fact, they have since lost ten and drawn three road games and have lost their last six away games, failing to score in the last nine.

“Whoever’s season is at stake isn’t worried about drubbings, but rather about points. A team playing for points is a team that will leave it all on the pitch; it doesn’t think about losing, but about doing good things.”– Mourinho

During the first meeting between the two sides at the end of October, in round nine, Real Madrid had to come from behind to earn a 3-1 victory after Trezeguet had given the herculanos the lead in the third minute with a powerful header, however, Di María started the comeback for the whites in the 52nd minute, which was followed up by a brace from Ronaldo to secure all three points.  Of the 19 league games played at the Bernabéu between the two, Hércules have only ever left with points on three occasions- two wins and a draw; their last win coming all the way back on April 21, 1985.  Incidentally, the last time they left the Bernabéu with any points.  This season, 67.69% of los blancos’ goals have come at the Bernabéu, while only conceding 0.46 goals per game at home.  Coincidentally, Madrid’s 44 home goals are almost twice as much as what Hércules have scored all season both home and away.  Additionally, the away side has only scored a meager three goals away from home, two of which came in their memorable victory in round two.

Last five games

Real Madrid’s last five games at home are as follows:

vs. Mallorca 1-0

vs. Sevilla 2-0

vs. Real Sociedad 4-1

vs. Levante 2-0

vs. Málaga 7-0

Hércules’ last five games on the road are as follows:

@ Sporting Gijón 2-0

@ Athletic Bilbao 3-0

@ Valencia 2-0

@ Sevilla 1-0

@ Villarreal 1-0

Injuries and Suspensions

The game will see the return of Lass, who had to serve a one match ban last round, Khedira, Garay and Arbeloa all returned from injury and were included in the squad list for the game.  However, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Pedro León, Kaká, Gago and Higuaín are out injured and as a result, Morata was once again tabbed for first team duty.  Hércules will miss the likes of Trezeguet, Tote, Peña and Drenthe, who will not make the trip to Madrid because of injuries.  In addition to Drenthe’s injury, the Dutch man’s loan contract includes a clause that prohibits him from playing against Real Madrid.  Hércules did receive some good news this week as Paraguayan striker Valdez returned to the squad list after his recent muscle injury which prevented him from taking part in the last five league games.

Squad Lists

The squad list for Real Madrid is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Casillas, Adán, Dudek

Defenders: Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Arbeloa, Albiol, Garay

Midfielders: Lass, X. Alonso, Khedira, Granero, Canales, Özil, Di Maria

Forwards: Benzema, Adebayor, Morata

Hércules’ squad list is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Calatayud, Velthuizen, Unai Alba

Defenders: Sarr, Abraham Paz, Pamarot, Cortes, Juanra, Pulhac

Midfielders: Abel Aguilar, Fritzler, Rufete, Tiago Gomes, Farinos

Forwards: Sendoa, Thomert, Cristian, Kiko Femenia, Valdez, Portillo

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