Roger Martí - Levante UD (3)

The Valencian derby, a match which pits local rivals Valencia CF and Levante UD up against each other, will play out in a passionate encounter Sunday at the home of Valencia CF, the infamous Mestalla stadium. Marcelino’s side are undoubtedly the favourites, however the Granoteswill behoping to snatch afirst ever competitive victory at the Mestalla.

Leading up to the game, 27-year-old Levante forward, Roger Marti said “We have to go there and play to our strengths. We know that they are going to control the pace of the game, but we have to be able to wait and make the most of our opportunities. We need to be strong at the back and convert our chances”.

When asked about what scoring a goal during the derby would feel like, he added “I hope I can. It would be very emotional for me, because of everything about the city. My family are from Valencia. I hope I can score a goal that gives the team points. Above all, I want us to get a positive result, and whether I score or not isn’t the most important thing”.

Statistically, the results of past derbies between these sides favour Valencia. Considering the head to head, both sides have playedeach other on 23 occasions in LaLiga Santander, with 10 victories for Los Ches, six draws, and seven wins for the Granotes. The Granoteswill however, be determined to eradicate the statistic of not a single win at the atmospheric Mestalla from the history books and celebrate their first three points there in this passionate derby.

Levante UD were founded in 1909 and Valencia ten years later, in 1919. The clubs, therefore, have no shortage of history, although they have largely fought their battles on different fronts: Levante have played nine seasons in LaLiga Santander, whilst Valencia have gone neck and neck with the cream of the Spanish crop for a total of 79 seasons; confirmation that they truly are one of the country’s most prestigious teams.

Despite the historic inequality between the two teams, derbies are always a completely different ball game. They offer 90 minutes of pure passion, emotion, tension and one sole objective; to beat the other team sharing the city. The challenges currently faced by the neighbouring teams are very different. Valencia are back in the upper echelons of the table, and on course for Champions League football; whilst Levante are in their first season back in the Spanishtop flight having earned promotion in 2017.