Real Madrid take on Rayo Vallecano this afternoon knowing that they can move top of the table albeit briefly.
With Atletico de Madrid and Barcelona playing later in the evening, three points for Zinedine Zidane’s men in the Vallecas suburb of Madrid would crank up the pressure on the other two teams vying for the La Liga title.
It is a remarkable situation from a few weeks ago when Barcelona looked to be strolling towards the title and playing the type of football that had them as favourites to repeat the treble they won last season.
Rayo are struggling near the foot of the table and are fighting to avoid the drop so Madrid will face a team up for a battle. The hosts have actually only bean beaten three times in the past 15 games although with eight draws in that sequence, their issue is failing to convert their chances and pick up more wins.
Los Blancos will need to be at their best – Rayo beat fourth placed Villarreal last time out, although both Barca and Atletico won easily in Vallecas when they visited.
In terms of team news, the main focus for Madrid is who will start in the front three. With the Champions League semi final up next, Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be rested fro today’s encounter having picked up a hamstring problem in the win over Villarreal.
Gareth Bale has given the team a boost by returning to training although we may see both Jese and James Rodriguez start.
Probable Line ups:
Juan Carlos, Quini, Amaya, Llorente, Tito, Hernandez, Baena, Trashorras, Embarba, Miku, Guerra
Keylor Navas, Danilo, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, Jese, Benzema, Rodriguez