Real Madrid hope that Rayo Vallecano’s weak defence will present them with the perfect chance to enjoy a goal fest and make fans forget about the recent blow against Villarreal.
Rafa Benitez is expected to display his best starting eleven, including Toni Kroos, who has recovered on time from a bout of flu. The Germany international will most likely pair in midfield with Luka Modric, sending Casemiro back to the bench.
Pepe and Sergio Ramos will remain the centre-back pair, as Raphael Varane is still on the sidelines through injury. Daniel Carvajal has not recovered on time either, so Danilo will feature at right-back.
Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo will form the usual forward line and they will have a good opportunity to improve their scoring record, since Rayo is the team that concedes the most goals in La Liga.
Yet, the visitor’s manager Paco Jemez has warned his team will play against Los Blancos as they would against any other side, with the possession-based style and their usual attacking mindset.
Jemez will miss goalkeepers Tono and Cobeno, and midfielder Patrick Ebert. Left-back Razvan Rat is a doubt with a muscle tear. The most important loss for Rayo will be defender Diego Llorente, who is on loan from Real Madrid and a clause in his contract prevents him from playing against Los Blancos.
Real Madrid: Navas; Danilo, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Kroos, James Rodriguez; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Rayo Vallecano: Yoel; Tito, Ze Castro, Amaya, Nacho; Trashorras, Baena; Lass, Jozabez, Bebe; Guerra.