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La Liga Preview: Real Madrid - Malaga
La Liga Preview: Real Madrid - Malaga

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La Liga Preview: Real Madrid - Malaga

Real Madrid is expected to welcome back Gareth Bale when it meets Malaga at Estadio Sanitago Bernabeu on Saturday.

The Welshman has made just three appearances in all competitions for the club since his world-record move from Premier League outfit Tottenham. Bale has been struggling with a thigh problem, and reports surfaced in the Spanish media that the 24-year-old had suffered a slipped disc in his back.

But those rumors were strongly denied by the club, and president Florentino Perez revealed the attacker will play in some capacity in the showdown with former Madrid boss Bernd Schuster's side.

Los Blancos will definitely still be without Xabi Alonso, who remains sidelined following surgery for a groin problem and a fractured metatarsal in recent months.

Carlo Ancelotti's charges head into the fixture on the back of a 3-2 victory away to Levante before the international break. Injury-time goals from Alvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo were required to rescue an unlikely three points, after Nabil El Zhar had given the hosts a 2-1 lead in the 86th minute.

The result maintained Madrid's grasp on third place, with the club taking 19 points from a possible 24 so far, leaving the Blancos five points adrift of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, both of whom boast 100 percent records.

Madrid will be keen to build momentum ahead of important fixtures with Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday and the first Clasico of the season away to Barcelona on Oct. 26.

Malaga, meanwhile, has had an indifferent start to the campaign, winning just two of eight matches. The Rosaleda outfit sits in 10th place and is looking to bounce back from a 1-0 home defeat to Osasuna, and midfielder Fernando Tissone is confident of an upset against Ancelotti's men.

"There are a lot of quality teams in the Spanish League and any team can beat any rival," Tissone told the club's official website. "It’s crucial we make the most out of every opportunity and play with a great degree of determination. We can defeat any team."

Victory will not come easily, however, as the last time the sides met in May, Real consigned Malaga to a heavy 6-2 defeat.

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