Real Madrid visit Espanyol in the third date of La Liga hoping to cut the differences with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in La Liga, as Azulgranas and Rojiblancos will meet at the Vicente Calderon.
Rafa Benitez will seek his second consecutive win in the league but has to cope with some important absences. James Rodriguez will be sidelined for one month after suffering a muscle injury with the Colombia national team and Danilo will also stay out after tearing his plantar fascia in a Brazil game.
Thus, Daniel Carvajal will return to right back, replacing the Brazilian, and Isco is expected to feature in midfield replacing James.
Some Madrid newspapers have reported recent signing Mateo Kovacic could have his first chance to play as a starter in order to let Luka Modric rest ahead of the Champions League opener against Shakhtar Donetsk.
Espanyol manager Sergio Gonzalez will miss Marco Asensio and Burgui, who are on loan from Real Madrid and have a clause in their contract that forbids them to play against Los Blancos. Abrahan Gonzalez is also a loss due to injury.
Espanyol: Pau Lopez; Arbilla, Alvaro, Raillo, Duarte; Montanes, Javier Lopez, Victor Sanchez, Victor Alvarez; Caicedo, Gerard Moreno.
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Kovacic, Kroos, Isco; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.