A preview as Real Madrid look to continue 13-year home unbeaten run vs Valencia

Hot on the heels of Barcelona and chasing Atletico, Real Madrid will be determined to avenge their 4-1 defeat to Valencia earlier this season, when the two teams face off at the Bernabeu on Sunday.

Relying on an incredibly rare brace from center back Raphael Varane, Real Madrid scraped past relegation-threatened Huesca with a 2-1 away win in northeastern Spain last weekend.

The victory kept Zidane's side hot on the heels of arch-rivals Barcelona - who are only bettering Los Blancos on goal difference - and eight points adrift of city rivals Atletico at the top, who boast a game in hand over both the giants of El Clasico.

Next on the agenda for Real is a struggling Valencia side at the Santiago Bernabeu, who sit 12th in the table and just four points above the relegation zone, as the pressure continues to mount on head coach Javi Gracia.

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Despite this however, the southeastern Spaniards have undergone somewhat of a resurgence recently, only losing once in the league since the dawn of the new year.

An acceptable 3-1 away defeat at Atletico has been the only game in which the side haven't picked up points - as Gracia looks to avoid being another casualty of the Mestalla's chaotic manager merry-go-round.

Among the expectations of the managers, players, supporters and critics, both Madrid and Valencia have undergone disappointing domestic campaigns thus far, and judging by the fixture's history, this one could go either way.

Let's look at the numbers.

Stat Attack

Real Madrid and Valencia have played 189 times, with Zidane's side winning 97 (51% win ratio) and Los Murcielagos being victorious 52 times (28% win ratio), the sides have played out 40 draws.

Los Blancos haven't lost to Valencia at the Bernabeu in all competitions since the 2007/08 La Liga season when they lost 3-2, they are undefeated in their last 14 games, winning nine and drawing five.

The two sides have matched each other in their last five games, with two wins a piece and a draw, Valencia comfortably won the previous encounter, stunning Madrid with a 4-1 victory at Mestalla last November.

Real have scored 110 more goals than their opponents in the fixture, with 351 to Valencia's 241, there has been an average of 3.1 goals scored in the tie, since the first meeting between the two.

Well known for its high scoring in recent years, 13 of the last 15 games have produced more than 2.5 goals, with eight of these games also seeing over 3.5 goals, will this trend continue in Madrid on Sunday?

We've looked back at four of Los Blancos' best performances against Valencia in recent years.

Four of the Best

Real Madrid 3-0 Valencia

La Liga

June 18, 2020

After a tense goalless first half between the two, Madrid struck three times late on at the Bernabeu to remain two points behind Barcelona with nine games left, to keep a fascinating title race alive.

Karim Benzema scored the opener in the 61st minute with his 243rd goal for the club in all competitions, overtaking Ferenc Puskas to put him fifth on Real's record all-time scorer list.

Scoring either side of a Marco Asensio finish, the Frenchman grabbed his second and Madrid's third of the night in emphatic fashion.

Flicking a cross into the air with his right foot, Benzema spun round to unleash a thunderous volley into the top corner with his left, as Zidane and his bench joyously celebrated in disbelief.

Valencia 1-4 Real Madrid

La Liga

January 27, 2018

An impressive victory at Mestalla saw an erratic Real Madrid close their gap to one point behind third-placed Valencia, with a game in hand as they persevered towards turning their season around.

Two first-half spotkicks from the prolific Cristiano Ronaldo gave Los Blancos a 2-0 lead at half time, before Madrid finished the job in the second half.

Despite a consolation goal for the hosts from Mina Lorenzo, a left-footed rocket from Marcelo and a well-placed finish from Toni Kroos sealed a crucial win for Zinedine Zidane's side.

Astoundingly, the win meant Madrid were 16 points behind their age-old rivals and league leaders Barcelona at the time.

Valencia 1-3 Real Madrid

Supercopa de Espana

January 8, 2020

Madrid took a huge step towards winning their 11th Supercopa De Espana as they comfortably dispatched Valencia in their semi-final clash at the King Abdullah Stadium in Saudi Arabia.

The game's opening goal was a moment of pure genius - spotting that Valencia goalkeeper Jaume Domenech was off his line, an opportunistic Toni Kroos curled his corner behind the keeper and scored directly to give Real the advantage.

Isco bagged the second with a cool volley before a rare goal from Luka Modric wrapped up proceedings, as the Croatian teased the Valencia defence before curling a strike home with the outside of his boot.

In the final, ten-man Madrid were victorious over inner-city rivals Atletico, winning 4-1 on penalties following a fiery 0-0 affair.

Real Madrid 3-2 Valencia

La Liga

May 8, 2016

Emerging victorious in a five-goal thriller, a Cristiano Ronaldo brace and Karim Benzema secured all three points at home for Los Blancos, in the penultimate fixture of the 2015/16 La Liga season.

It was CR7 (shock) who broke the game's deadlock, pushing the Valencia defence back with his testing run before placing the ball across the keeper with his famous right foot.

Los Murcielagos fell further behind on the stroke of half time, Karim Benzema tapped in from six yards after a defensive mix-up to double the hosts' lead.

Goals from Rodrigo and Andre Gomes weren't enough to get Pako Ayestaran's side any points from the game, as Ronaldo bagged his brace to put the game beyond them.

Blast from the Past

2000 Champions League Final

In the first Champions League final of the new millennium, a star studded Real Madrid side managed by Vincente Del Bosque faced off against Hector Cuper's resolute Valencia team, in an all-Spanish clash at the Stade de France.

In Del Bosque's first major title as manager, a header from Fernando Morientes, a volley of the highest order from Steve McManaman and a routine striker's finish from the legendary Raul secured a 3-0 victory for Los Blancos on the night.

The trophy was Real's second in three seasons and their eighth at the time, it also made Steve McManaman the first English player to win the Champions League with a non English club.

Tip of the Fixture

PaddyPower are offering 2/1 odds on both teams to score and Real Madrid to win.

(Odds correct at time of writing, subject to change).

By Owen Thompson

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