Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO - LEVANTE (LA LIGA, 20h00)

06 May 2008
The last place in la liga visits the Riazor, it does it with several internal problems and with a team full of inexperience. Only four players in the Valencian starting team accumulates more than 50 games in Primera. Meanwhile, Depor targets the Intertoto and the UEFA zone. For this, Lotina keeps the 5-2-2-1 system with the appearance of Piscu for Lopo and the return of Lafita. Also, Xisco has been rested and his place is between Taborda and Bodipo.

STATISTICS: THE WORST TEAM OF LA LIGA VISITS THE RIAZOR
U.D. Levante is not only the last place in the table, it's also the team with the worst statistics in Primera Divisi??n. For example: the squad with less wins (7), more defeats (23), more goals allowed (64 or 1.83 per match), less goals scored (30) and even less draws (5). Levante is also the second worst team in terms of total shots during the season (366 in 35 matches).

The Valencians are also the worst visitor in Primera Divisi??n with only seven points added after seventeen presentations. And its that the squad has only conquered two victories in this condition: 3-2 at Murcia (matchday 21) and 1-0 at Betis (matchday 32) plus one draw: 0-0 at Valencia (matchday 18).

Meanwhile, Deportivo arrives to this game with the 11th best record as a home team, the Galicians have added 27 points after 17 matches at the Riazor. This improvement has been possible thanks to the performance during the second round, period of time in which Lotina's side has added 22 of the 24 points disputed at home: 3-1 Vs. Valladolid (matchday 21), 1-1 Vs. Getafe (matchday 23), 2-0 Vs. Espanyol (matchday 25), 2-1 Vs. Sevilla (matchday 26), 1-0 Vs. Real Madrid (matchday 28), 3-1 Vs. Murcia (matchday 30), 3-0 Vs. Athletic Bilbao (matchday 32) and 2-0 Vs. Barcelona (matchday 34).

Also, Depor is trying to add its seventh straight win at the Riazor, the historic record at the club is nine wins in a row (achieved two times: seasons 1993/94 and 1953/54 -54/55) The last time that Deportivo presented an important number  of consecutive victories at home was for the season 1999/2000. In that opportunity the Galician team won eight straight home matches between matchdays 21 and 34.

Finally, Levante has played three times at the Riazor for Primera Divisi??n, the Valencians only added one point in those three games, it was during the scoreless draw of the past season. Levante's only win in La Coru?a occurred in Segunda Divisi??n, it was a 2-1 victory occurred on the season 1979/1980.

DEPORTIVO: COLOCCINI YES, LOPO NO
Lotina was worried because his three central defenders were doubtful for the game, in the end the three of them were included in the list, but Albert Lopo will probably miss the clash since he didn't train on Tuesday due to his knee problems (tendinitis). Therefore his place will be for Fabril's Adri??n L??pez 'Piscu', the youngster already replaced the Catalan throughout the season, the last time during the visit to El Sardinero. Who's fit to play is Fabricio Coloccini, the Argentinean suffered an ankle sprain in the past game against Zaragoza, but he won't have problems to face Levante.

Despite the problems, Lopo said on Tuesday that he's ready to play "Within the discomfort I had, things are improving and that's why I'm fine and positive about the game. When the muscle is affected, you can face any sequel, but it doesn't prevent me to play. Today, I didn't train, it was in order to save time for tomorrow's match. As far as my body allows it, I will be ready. Risks are there, but we are here for that, we need to face the risks, because we're playing for something important. "

Pablo Amo was also doubtful since he has a black eye after a collision with Diego Milito, but he's fit to play. The defensive line will be completed with Manuel Pablo at the right-back position and Filipe Luis covering the left side. It will be the 50th match at Depor for the Brazilian. Dudu Aouate will be the goalkeeper.

Meanwhile, Sergio and Julian De Guzm??n will continue to be the couple in midfield. Who's returning to the starting line-up is Angel Lafita, the Aragonian will take the place of Riki and will join Christian Wilhelmsson in the playmaking functions. Who won't play the game is Xisco, Lotina thinks he needs some rest and therefore the Majorcan wasn't called for the encounter, his place in the striking zone will be taken by Rodolfo Bodipo or by Sebasti??n Taborda. Both attackers are facing a negative season, the Guinean has only scored one goal, while the Uruguayan has only conquered two.

The biggest surprise is to see Juan Carlos Valer??n on the list of called players, the Canarian suffered a new knee injury before to the visit to Osasuna, it was during a game in copa Galicia and it was feared the case would be serious, but the problem was minimal and now he's fit to play. He was even tested as an starter on Tuesday, but he will probably wait for a chance sited on the bench. Valer??n talked at Abegondo's press room after the training and appointed that he's feeling fine "If I was called for the game, it means I am one more player in the squad and that I'm ready to do whatever the coach wants."

Valer??n also talked about the chances of Deportivo about reaching the European position "Our goal is to keep the Intertoto spot and later to try to gain a place in the UEFA zone, that's why tomorrow's game is really important, if we win it, things will turn positive for us." Together with Piscu, the other Fabril's player called for the game is David V??zquez Gonz??lez 'Chapi'. He will be the defensive option on the bench. The players out of the game for injury reasons are: Andr?s Guardado (stress fracture) and Antonio Barrag??n (knee), while Rub?n Castro and Antonio Tom??s were discarded for technical reasons.

Called players (19): Aouate, Mun??a (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Adri??n L??pez, Pablo Amo, Coloccini, Lopo, Filipe Luis, Chapi (defenders); Sergio, De Guzm??n, Juan Rodr?guez, Wilhelmsson, Lafita, Cristian, Valer??n (midfielders); Bodipo, Taborda and Riki (strikers).

LEVANTE: RELEGATION, CRISIS AND INEXPERIENCE
The Valencians arrive to La Coru?a with the relegation to Segunda Divisi??n already confirmed and also in the middle of  double crisis. First, the economic problems at the club have continued, despite the club's officials gave the warranties to fulfil the €18 million owed to the players, the payments haven't been done and now the players are menacing to make a new strike, this time for next weekend's game against Valencia.

However, the club assured that a credit was closed on Tuesday and that the payments will be fulfilled as soon as possible. Of the €18 million owed for several reasons, the players consider that €8 million must be fulfilled now. This money correspond to the salary of the ex-Coach Abel Resino, the players' wages from March, the payments of the player's houses, prizes for the points conquered and December's extra-salary.

The second crisis is related to the casualties in the squad. French midfielder Mathieu Berson and central defender ?lvaro Maior are suspended for the game since they were sent off in the last game with RCD Espanyol, while other seven players are discarded for injury reasons: Alex Geijo (hamstring strain), Laurent Courtois (thigh), Pablo Cavallero (back problem), Shota Arveladze (abductor), Miguel ?ngel (appendicitis), David Castedo (knee ligaments) and Damiano Tommasi (knee). Reason why, in order to complete the list, coach Jos? ?ngel Moreno had to call one player from Levante B (central defender H?ctor Rodas) and even two from Juveniles (left winger Miguel ?ngel Riau and striker Nacho Verd?s).

The line-up of the coach Jos? ?ngel Moreno is full of players without experience at Primera Divisi??n .Only four men in the starting eleven accumulates more than 50 games in la liga: midfielder Juan Manuel G??mez Juanma'  (86), striker Mustapha Riga (64), right-back defender I?aki Descarga (58) and left-back Luis Manuel Rubiales (50).

It calls the attention the lack of experience presented by the two central defenders in the formation: Armando Lozano, a 23-year-old defender that has only played nine games in Primera Divisi??n, while the other one is the Catalan Mikel Robust?, a 22-year-old player that has only performed twice in la liga. The goalkeeper is another 'rookie': Malaga-born Manolo Reina. A 23-year old keeper that has only played six times in Primera, one with Malaga during the 2005/2006 campaign and the other five games with Levante during the present season.

This inexperience continues in midfield. Jose Manuel Serrano, a central defender that has only played 36 games in Primera, is advancing his position to the centre of the pitch in order to perform alongside two of the most promising youngsters in the Valencian squad: Javi Fuego and Pedro Le??n. Fuego is an ex-Sporting midfielder that Deportivo tried to sign in the past, he's 24 and has played 24 matches in la liga. Meanwhile, Le??n is a talented playmaker that has appeared 21 times on this liga season, he's only 20 and has already scored three goals, two of these goals conquered within the last four matches of Levante. The 'veteran' in this sector is Juanma, player that scored the goal in the last match with RCD Espanyol.

In attack, Levante presents another young player: Sa??l Fern??ndez. A 22-year old right winger that accumulates 19 matches in Primera Divisi??n. The main reference will be Mustapha Riga, the Ghana-born attacker is the best scorer in the team with eight goals on this season, but his last conquer occurred on March against Sevilla.

Curiously, Levante was the 'older' squad when the season was just starting, the average age of the players inscribed for this liga season was of  28.97. Number that represented the highest one between the twenty clubs in Primera Divisi??n. The case is that, with the relegation already consumed and with the internal problems, veterans like Ettien, Storari, Laurent, Savio or Rigano have disappeared from the line-ups. Some of them have even abandoned the club during past months.

List of called players (18): Vladan Kujovic, Manuel Reina (goalkeepers); Jos? Serrano, Mikel Robust?, Manuel Gaspar, Descarga, Rodas, Rubiales (defenders); Armando, Javi Fuego, Juanma, Sa??l, Pedro Le??n, Ettien, Riau (midfielders); Iborra, Riga and Nacho Verd?s (strikers).

PROBABLE LINE-UPS
Deportivo: Aouate - Manuel Pablo, Piscu, Pablo Amo, Coloccini, Filipe Luis - Sergio, De Guzm??n -Wilhelmsson, Lafita - Bodipo or Taborda.
Levante: Reina - Descarga, Armando, Robust?, Rubiales - Sa??l, Juanma, Javi Fuego, Serrano - Le??n, Riga
Referee: Paradas Romero (14 games on the season, 6 wins for the local team).
Kick-off: 20h00 (Riazor).
Record Vs. Levante: 11 wins for Depor, 1 draw, 9 wins for Levante (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 8 wins for Depor, 1 draw, 1 win for Levante (Primera & Segunda)

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