After being dumped out of the Copa del Rey by Leganes on home soil earlier in the season, Real Madrid will be looking to exact revenge when their close rivals visit the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday evening.
While the opportunity to close the gap to Atletico Madrid until Sunday afternoon to a single point is prominent, and the knowledge that anything but victory will crown Barcelona as champions, Zinedine Zidane will undoubtedly have one eye on Los Blancos’ Champions League semi-final second leg next week.
Meanwhile, Asier Garitano’s men will make the short trip knowing this weekend is nothing less than a free hit with their La Liga status for next term already all but confirmed.
So, ahead of the Primera Division clash, let’s take a look at all you need to know…
Real Madrid 1-2 Leganes (January, 2018)
Although the two sides have only met five times, the standout fixture was a truly historic moment for Leganes, as they became this season’s giant killers by knocking their Madrid neighbours out of the Copa del Rey on away goals.
Zidane’s lackadaisical approach to the tie while one goal up from the first leg epitomised Los Blancos’ failings throughout the campaign, with their somewhat woeful attempt at defending La Liga title also evidence of that.
Javier Eraso gave the January night’s visitors a shock lead midway through the first half before Karim Benzema seemed to restore some normality to the contest.
However, Gabriel Appelt Pires’ finish just eight minutes handed victory to the small outfit from the Madrid outskirts and eventually forced Los Blancos to watch on as Barcelona lifted their fourth consecutive King’s Cup.
Gareth Bale vs Dimitris Siovas
With Cristiano Ronaldo expected to be afforded the evening off in preparation for the Champions League, Gareth Bale will likely spearhead Real Madrid’s attacking line on Saturday evening.
Although the Welshman continues to be overlooked by Zidane, the forward has 11 goals and two assists to his name from 16 starts, meaning Leganes centre back Dimitris Siovas could be in for a tricking 90 minutes.
However, with two clean sheets from the last three, admittedly against weaker opposition than this weekend’s task, the Greece international defender will be hoping he can use his experience to get the better of the former Tottenham Hotspur ace.
Nacho Fernandez is unlikely to return from injury in time to feature on Saturday, meaning Achraf Hakimi is expected to fill in for the unavailable Dani Carvajal – who picked up a knock against Bayern Munich.
Isco was another who returned from Germany with an issue, while the aforementioned Ronaldo, Marcelo, Raphael Varane and Toni Kroos could all expect to feature on the substitutes’ bench.
For Leganes, Alexander Szymanowski (muscle), Martin Mantovani (calf) and Ezequiel Munoz (foot) are all unavailable.
Despite Real Madrid fielding a weaker side and the distraction of the Champions League semi-final second leg, it would be surprising to see Saturday’s hosts miss out on three points.