La Liga Preview: Real Madrid - Valencia

May 2, 2014
La Liga Preview: Real Madrid - Valencia

Carlo Ancelotti masterminded Real's Madrid's progression to the UEFA Champions League final on Tuesday at the expense of defending champion Bayern Munich, which was hammered 4-0 at the Allianz Arena  - and lost 5-0 on aggregate.

Real has already won the Copa del Rey and could still snatch the league title, but city rival Atletico Madrid - Real's opponent in the Champions League final on May 24 - is the strong favorite to be crowned Spanish champion.

Diego Simeone's side is six points better off than Real - and four ahead of Barcelona - with three games remaining and is on the verge of its first La Liga title since the 1990-91 campaign.

Two days after Real had celebrated their stunning victory in Munich, Valencia was left heartbroken following a dramatic defeat in the Europa League on Thursday.

With a minute of stoppage time to play in its semifinal with La Liga rival Sevilla, Juan Antonio Pizzi's men were on the verge of the final, having overturned a 2-0 deficit from the first leg to lead 3-0 in the closing stages of the second leg.

However, they were left stunned when Stephane M'Bia's 94th-minute header at the Mestalla ensured Sevilla progressed on away goals.

Pizzi has called on his players to lift themselves in Madrid as they strive to finish in the top half of the table.

"We can rest assured, though, that this road leads to good things," he told AS after Thursday's defeat. "I told the players I'm proud of them and they deserved to get to the final.

"Unfortunately these things are part of our career and shocks are worth more than the victories, I'd say.

"Everyone has to work for each other. We must learn and value learning, and try to be better every day."

Valencia's trips to the Bernabeu have not proved to be fruitful in recent seasons, though, as it has not taken all three points since 2008.

The Blancos have won their last five games in all competitions - scoring 14 goals and conceding just one - so they will fancy their chances of maintaining their impressive form.

Madrid has Alvaro Arbeloa back in training ahead of the fixture, but it may be too soon for the full back to return to action, while Luka Modric and Jese Rodriguez should be involved despite sitting out training on Friday,

Germany midfielder Sami Khedira could feature after a lengthy absence with a knee injury.

Valencia duo Oriol Romeu and Philippe Senderos continue their rehabilitation so are unlikely to start, while Juan Bernat, Diego Alves and Victor Ruis are also sidelined due to injury.