Levante have never won a top-flight game at La Rosaleda but with Malaga sitting in the drop zone, Friday’s match could be as good a time as any to bring the seven-game run to an end.
Though the Blue and Whites have shown improved league form with two wins out of the last two at home, the Costa del Sol side were brought back down to earth in midweek by yet another Copa del Rey elimination at the hands of second-tier opposition, in this case Numancia (1-1, 2-3 on aggregate).
Newly-promoted Levante came out on the right side of their clash with Girona (1-1, 3-1 on aggregate) and travel south with their extensive injury list somewhat shortened. Sergio Postigo and Chema should be reunited at centre back, with Rober stepping back up into midfield.
For Malaga, Recio should shake off the knock he picked up in his side’s 2-3 defeat to Real Madrid at the weekend, a game which claimed Juankar as a victim. The left-back will miss the remainder of the campaign with knee ligament damage.
In his place, either centre-back Diego Gonzalez or youngster Alex Robles could deputise. Elsewhere, Malaga can field almost a full-strength side.
With Malaga’s defence shipping 28 goals already this season, head coach Michel admitted in his pre-match press conference that this was at the forefront of his thinking: “We are focused on getting that clean sheet. Teams managed by Muñiz work very hard and are very organised so not conceding is very important.”
Juan Muñiz, who returns to the club that he twice managed, told Diario SUR: “It’s a great feeling returning to the city and to La Rosaleda. Before the season started I told my friends that I hoped Levante and Malaga would win all their matches, except when we faced each other!”
Muñiz is not the only one returning to the Costa. Samu Garcia, who spent five years with Malaga, is expected to start the game on the bench.