Real Madrid will hope for away-day comforts to blow away their Santiago Bernabeu blues when they travel to face struggling Alaves on Saturday afternoon.
Madrid travel to the Basque country still reeling following Wednesday’s 1-0 home defeat to Betis which means they have so far not won a league game in front of their fans this season, with Wednesday’s defeat following draws against Valencia and Levante.
It has been a different story for Madrid on the road however, with a 3-0 win away to Deportivo la Coruna and a 3-1 victory over Real Sociedad last weekend, hinting perhaps Zinedine Zidane’s side play better when they are more relaxed away from pressure cooker demands of the Santiago Bernabeu.
Speaking to the press on Friday, Zidane insisted he was not worried by results as his side was still playing good football which on other occasions would have brought them all three points and joked that he had not seen the good luck he enjoyed last season turn sour.
Zidane may still have good luck, but he also has a long list of injured players who won’t make the trip to Vitoria: Karim Benzema, Mateo Kovacic, Jesus Vallejo, Theo Hernandez and Marcelo, who will be sidelined for a month, are all out meaning Theo misses the chance to face the club he played for last season on loan from Atletico Madrid.
With a key Champions League tie away to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, Zidane will use some squad rotations with Marcos Llorente in line to make a quick return to Mendizorozza following his successful loan last season.
Young striker Borja Mayoral could also start after scoring against Real Sociedad and Dani Ceballos may get action at some point in the game, while Nacho Fernandez will cover at left back.
Alaves have had a horrible start to the campaign and have lost their first five matches, failing to score in any of them. That form cost Luis Zubeldia his job as first team coach and his former assistant Javier Cebello will be on the bench again as the club looks for a permanent replacement.
Meanwhile there could be a family reunion with Zidane’s son Enzo in the Alaves squad, although he has been limited to two brief appearances this season.