Squad news


11 May 2014
Tough game at Mendizorroza, Alavés need the three points to avoid relegation and Depor need them to continue caressing the promotion. Juan Carlos is fit to play and goes directly into the starting eleven.

It’s not common to see a club struggling to survive as one of the best scorers in any league, but that’s the case of Deportivo Alavés at Liga Adelante.  The Basques have netted 49 goals on this season, it’s the second best mark in the competition tied with Barcelona B and only below Sporting Gijón (55).  Curiously five of the six best scorers aren’t among the best six teams in the competition.

Actually the current two first places, SD Eibar and Deportivo, have been more characterized for their strong defense than for scoring goals. The Galicians have scored 43 goals so far, which is only the 10th best mark in the tournament. In the end both top teams are the only ones with a goal difference beyond the ten goals: Eibar (+19) & Depor (+14), which demonstrates that the important thing is the balance.

Depor are still searching to establish a new club’s mark of victories and points on the road, and for it they need to add the three points in this match. Meanwhile, Deportivo Alavés is the third worst local team in the league and have only won five games at Mendizorroza: 3-0 Vs. Sporting Gijón (matchday 06), 3-1 Vs. Hércules CF (matchday 08), 2-1 Vs. CD Lugo (matchday 18), 1-0 Vs. AD Alcorcón (matchday 28) & 1-0 Vs. RCD Mallorca (matchday 36).

The Basques are in relegation after losing 7 of their last 12 games, but Deportivo have always faced problems visiting Vitoria. The Galicians have played 25 official games there (23 in liga and 2 in Copa Del Rey) and only won in three opportunities. The last win in Mendizorroza took place during the league season 2001/02 and it was a suffered one as Depor had to come from behind with goals scored by Tristán and Capdevila within the last twenty minutes (1-2).

Depor’s last visit to Mendizorroza took place on May 13, 2006 and it was a similar scenario though at Primera División. It was the last matchday on the season 2005/06 and Deportivo needed the victory to qualify to the UEFA Intertoto, while Alavés needed the points to avoid relegation. The Basques clinched the win with a goal scored by Bodipo (1-0), but didn’t escape to go down to Segunda. Neither the Galician qualified to Europe.

With five games remaining in the league, Deportivo have a 7-point lead over the playoff zone, it seems that the promotion is a matter of time, but the club doesn’t want to assume risks, especially in a league so tight like this one; after all the five remaining rivals are playing for big things. Four of them (Alavés, Numancia, Jaén and Girona) are trying to avoid demotion and the other (Eibar) is also fighting for the direct promotion.

So, the remaining five games are assumed as five finals in which the team needs to be focused; in this sense coach Fernando Vázquez has been trying to increase the intensity during the trainings, while the club has postponed any public act with the players and coaches until the promotion is mathematically secured. The measure isn’t affecting the press conferences and interviews, at least for now.

Álex Bergantiños is aware of the situation, as he commented the issue on Thursday, “Any game is a final now, but when the rival is playing for the permanence then the games end to be tenser for everyone, players, coaches and the fans… there will be a lot of tension in the environment. But I can tell you that we must try to get the points in order to clinch the promotion and no matter against who we are playing.”

Pablo Insua was assuring that the team isn’t feeling the pressure, ”We have spent two weeks in which we suffered hard strikes, but I don’t believe the team is thinking of the direct rivals. The other teams are approaching, the points that we need aren’t arriving. We must think of winning three games and then the others can do whatever they want. We cannot be thinking of drawing in this game and then expect the rival will lose their game… I believe the changing room is calm, we don’t feel the pressure. We want to win in Vitoria, to succeed and convince.”

Ahead of the visit to Alavés, Vázquez is concern as his team has allowed five goals within the last three games. He thought about the convenience of switching the draw into the system with three defenders, but in the end he’s keeping the 4-2-3-1, though with novelties due to the suspension of Laure (10 yellow cards on this season).

Juan Carlos was close to miss the game due to an ankle sprain, but he was picked for the match after facing a late test in Saturday’s training, he’s now going directly into the starting eleven. In the end Luisinho is delaying his position to the left side of the defense, with Diego Seoane switching to the right, while the centre-backs are Albert Lopo and Pablo Insua. German Lux remains as the starting keeper.

At midfield territory, Álex Bergantiños and Juan Dominguez perform on the pivote positions, Juan Carlos plays at the right wing, Ibrahim Sissoko is the playmaker, Bryan Rabello attacks from the left and Diego Ifrán is the central attacker.

With Juan Carlos fit to play, Javier Arizmendi joins Luis Fernández as the two players ruled out for tactical reasons, while Diogo Salomão is the only player staying at the injury room.

During the week Manuel Pablo was also admitting that Depor have lost some of the defensive security after allowing five goals within the last three games, ”We know that they are playing for a lot, just like us, but their need is bigger and that’s why we believe they are going out for everything. We need to recover some of the security lost in the last games and later try to harm them.”

Rabello was hoping that Depor can improve after only picking one point within the last two games, “We had soft games in previous weeks and we hope that now the team can pick up the three points, which is what we are looking for. We hope to carry out with the game and show again the good performance had in previous matches. Truly we have to improve at defense and need to be focused the full ninety minutes.”

List of picked players (18): Lux, Fabricio (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Luisinho, Seoane, Lopo, Marchena, Insua (defenders); Álex Bergantiños, Juan Dominguez,  Wilk, Juan Carlos, Núñez, Sissoko, Rabello (midfielders); Borja Bastón, Toché & Ifrán (attackers).

If last weekend Deportivo had to deal with Rennella now it travels to Vitoria in order to meet with Borja Viguera, a 27-year-old striker that has had a late explosion at Liga Adelante. Before this season, the Logroño-born man had only played 24 matches at Segunda scoring 3 goals. Now he’s the Pichichi in the league netting 23 goals in 37 appearances.

Viguera has scored the 47% of his team goals (49), which is the highest percentage in the league. And his goals have been noticed at Primera as it’s rumored that Athletic Bilbao is ready to pay the €1 million stipulated on his release clause, a shock in the Basque country as the striker was formed in Real Sociedad’s academy. 

But these aren’t times to celebrate at Deportivo Alavés; the team has lost 7 of the last 12 liga meetings and already had three coaches in one single season. The Basques have been in relegation for twelve straight matchdays and face a tough calendar with visits to CD Lugo and SD Eibar for the next two weeks. So, this is a final for them.

Viguera himself talked during the week about the importance of clinching the victory, ”A victory over the leader will bring three vital points plus morale, because in the end you defeat the leader, a team that’s strong outside home and that only allows a few goals. We knew since the beginning of the season that it was going to be tough and we are going to fight until the last breath.”

Inexperience coach Alberto López has only spent six weeks in the job and is facing a tough task, though he seems to have found a fixed scheme for his team: a 4-4-2 draw based in the success of Borja Viguera, plus the contribution of another ex-Real Sociedad player: Ion Vélez, who’s the second best scorer at the team with six goals added to his tally.

So, it isn’t difficult to predict the lineup for the match. Ex-Mirandés Iván Crespo defends the goal, the centre-backs are Czech Jiří Jarošík and ex-Celta Samuel Llorca. Óscar Rubio is the right-back defender and b>Raúl García performs at the left side. The ex-Depor defender arrived during the winter window and has been a starter within the last seven games.

Jagoba Beobide and ex-Murcia Emilio Sánchez perform at midfield, Manu García attacks from the right wing, while former Granada man Daniel García, ‘Toti’ performs on the left. Finally, Viguera and Ion Vélez are the central attackers.

Defenders Nano and Óscar Ortíz are out for injury reasons, the remaining 24 players at the first team were picked for the game, including third keeper Jorge Mediavilla. The coach will release a final list of 18 players one hour before the kick-off.

Ex-Depor Raúl García was commenting the game, ”It’ s going to be a complicate game. They’re coming after a defeat and a draw and, although they have the promotion almost done, they need the three points. But we need them the most and it has to be noticed since the first minute. Now we need to complete perfect games and especially to not allow goals, as it was seen in the two games that we won recently; there are big chances of winning if we don’t allow goals.”

Midfielder Manu García was offering his expectations for the meeting, ”They are a solid team, but the general feeling that I have is that we can win the game. I look at the standings and don’t think: Depor is coming, it’s going to be impossible. It’ the opposite for me.”

List of picked players (24): Crespo, Iñaki Goitia, Jorge Mediavilla (goalkeepers); Óscar Rubio, Luciano González, Unai Medina, Pepe Mora, Jarošík, Samuel Llorca, Raúl García (defenders); Beobide, Manu García, Jaume Delgado, Emilio Sánchez, Óscar Serrano, Juanma Gómez, Carlos Lázaro, Toti, Sergio Tejera, Stevanovic (midfielders); Borja Viguera, Casaseca, Mauro Quiroga & Ion Vélez (attacjers).

Alavés: (4-4-2) Crespo - Rubio, Samuel, Jarošík, Raúl García - Manu García, Emilio Sánchez, Beobide, Toti - Ion Vélez, Borja Viguera.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Lux – Seoane, Lopo, Insua, Luisinho – Juan Domínguez, Álex Bergantiños – Juan Carlos, Sissoko, Rabello - Ifrán
Referee: Daniel Ocón Arráiz
Kick-off: 18h15 CET (Mendizorroza)
Head-to-head Vs. Alavés: 18 wins for Depor, 10 draws, 19 wins for Alavés (Primera & Segunda)



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