Real Madrid play host to Numancia of La Liga 1|2|3 in the second leg of their Copa del Rey last 16 tie on Wednesday evening.
Penalties from Gareth Bale and Isco were followed by a late header from Borja Mayoral as Real secured a 3-0 win in the first leg and Los Blancos are clear favourites to complete the task at the Bernabeu.
The Madrid side are 16 points behind league leaders Barcelona in La Liga and Zinedine Zidane was late for a press conference earlier this week due to holding a team meeting after training and this has fuelled talk of a crisis at the club but Zidane dismissed these reports.
“I’m not going to tell you what we spoke about, it was just one of these chats that teams have. You can analyse it however you like, call it a crisis or whatever, but we are looking for solutions to make things better. “I don’t mind if people think the league is over. The most important thing is to give our best. We’ll see what happens in the league but we still have the cup and Champions League.”
Numancia on the other hand have no pressure on them ahead of the trip to Madrid and are in good form too, having not lost in the league since November.
However, manager Jagoba Arrasate is aware that his side are practically guaranteed to be knocked out so hasn’t set his game plan too adventurous. “We are not thinking about getting through the tie, we think about playing the best match we can. It’s a great game and a great stage but we have to have sense of responsibility. We have to play the best possible match and we don not know where it will take us, it also depends on the opponents, but it is an exciting game.”
Zidane will rest many first team players including Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale with a youthful side to play as in previous rounds.
Pape Diamanka will miss the game after his first leg red card. Luis Valcarce picked up an injury last week and also misses out along with Julio Alvarez and Ripa as well as Manu Del Moral after the forward fell in the street.
Real Madrid Squad: Navas, Casilla, Moha; Carvajal, Vallejo, Nacho, Theo, Achraf, Tejero; Kroos, Casemiro, Llorente, Asensio, Isco, Kovacic, Ceballos, Oscar; Vazquez, Mayoral
Numancia Squad: Munir, Aitor Fernandez; Saul, Elgezabal, Calvo, Markel, Gutierrez, Medina; Perez, Escassi, Grego, Mateu, Larrea; Higinio, Nacho, Milla, Guillermo, Nieto
Leganes take a one goal lead to the Estadio de la Ceramica when they face Villarreal in one of Wednesday’s two early kick offs.
Nordin Amrabat’s early second half goal in Madrid has given Leganes the edge for Wednesday’s game but Villarreal will fancy their chances of getting through.
Villarreal coach Javier Calleja has warned his players not to rush things and stay calm as they look to overturn the deficit, saying, “We have to be mature in decision making, never be crazy. If they score we would have to look for a third goal and we know how difficult that challenge is against Leganes.”
His Leganes counterpart Asier Garitano hopes that his side can go two rounds further than last year (Lost to Valencia) and having already defeated Valladolid, he has made it clear that he wants to make the quarter finals.
“The aim is to achieve an objective, to surpass what we did last season, we have to try to extend everything that we can, we have that possibility and will do everything on our part to make it happen.
Calleja has chosen a strong squad for the game with only those out through injury, Nicola Sansone, Ruben Semedo, Andres Fernandez, Bruno Soriano and Roberto Soriano, not involved. Manuel Trigueros returns.
Leganes are without Darko Brasanac and Alexander Szymanowski but Nordin Amrabat is back after missing Sunday’s win over Real Sociedad through injury.
Villarreal Squad: Asenjo, Barbosa; Gaspar, Alvaro, Marin, Ruiz, Rukavina, Bonera; Cheryshev, Fornals, Castillejo, Trigueros, Rodri, Guerra; Bacca, Unal, Roger, Raba
Leganes Squad: Cuellar, Champagne; Tito, Bustinza, Mantovani, Garcia, Rico, Dos Santos, Munoz, Zaldua, Siovas; Gumbau, Gabriel, El Zhar, Eraso, Naranjo, Perez, Omar; Guerrero, Beauvue, Amrabat
Alaves will expect to progress to the quarter finals with the minimum of fuss when they take on Segunda B side Formentera at the Mendizorroza.
They have a 3-1 lead from the first leg against the Islanders and with the three away goals, Formentera have next to no chance of repeating their heroics against Athletic Bilbao in the last round.
Abelardo Fernandez sees this as a great chance to make the quarter finals but confessed the league is the main focus, saying “My team is very excited to progress to the next round but the league is what’s important. Despite the difference in leagues, if you don’t come out with the right attitude, the difference in league isn’t noticed.”
Formentera manager Tito Sanjuan wants his side to enjoy the game. “It is probably the last time we play against a first division team so we have to enjoy it. We don’t have any pressure and we want to show the rest of Spain that we’re not in the last 16 by chance.
Burgui is out injured for Alaves along with Hector Hernandez and Carlos Vigaray with Manu Garcia, Bojan, Christain Santos, Ruben Duarte, Guillermo Maripan and Aleksandar Katai not in the squad. New loan signing from Celta Vigo, John Guidetti, is in the squad.
Alaves Squad: Pacheco, Sivera; Ruano, Laguardia, Ely, Dieguez; Gomez, Torres, Pedraza, Pina, Wakaso, Medran, Lopez; Sobrino, Munir, Demirovic, Guidetti
Formentera Squad: Farinas, Grana, Riera, Ojeda, Bonilla, Vinicius, Tajara, Linan, Rosa, Sanchez, Gabri, Garmendia, Fobi, Romero, Quesada, Alvarez, Gonzalez, San Jose, Muniz