Cristiano Ronaldo will return from his three-match suspension to face city rivals Atletico Madrid on a crucial derby that could see Real Madrid reinforce their chances to win La Liga.
With the Colchoneros sitting third in the table, a victory would leave Los Blancos six points ahead their arch-rivals, a fairly good advantage at this stage of the season. A loss, however, would bring Atletico back to the fight, after their disappointing loss against Osasuna last week.
Carlo Ancelotti will very likely line-up his BBC forward line –Benzema, Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo– that trashed Schalke 04 on Wednesday scoring two goals each. The Portuguese returns from suspension for the key part of the season, bringing Jese back to the bench.
Luka Modric will also start alongside Angel di Maria and Xabi Alonso in midfield after missing Elche’s game for suspension. Ancelotti will only miss Sami Khedira, who remains the only absentee for Los Merengues.
Diego Pablo Simeone will seek to put their men back to the right track and take revenge from the Copa del Rey semi-final, in which Real embarrassed them with an overall 5-0 win in both games.
The Argentinian will recover his starting left-back, Filipe Luis, who has missed the last games due to injury. Thus, he will be able to line-up his usual starting eleven, although Raul Garcia could feature replacing David Villa, who is not in his best shape.
The game will also see Diego Costa and Ronaldo fighting for the top scorer of La Liga trophy. The Portuguese has scored 22 goals so far this season, while the Brazilian has netted 21.
A victory of the hosts and a win for Barcelona against Almeria would leave the three teams tied at the top of the table with 63 points. Meanwhile, Los Blancos will only need a draw to remain on first place for at least one more week.
Atletico Madrid: Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Filipe Luis; Koke, Gabi, Mario, Arda Turan; Garcia, Costa.
Real Madrid: Diego Lopez; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Alonso, Di Maria; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.