Real Madrid will be eager to ensure their Liga defence does not take another blow when they host Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho will welcome back a number of first team names who were rested in the midweek Copa del Rey defeat to Celta Vigo. Mesut Ozil is expected to fill the whole behind the striker while Sami Khedira returns to defensive midfield alongside Xabi Alonso.
The fans may feel more secure with Iker Casillas back between the posts, with Raphael Varane dropping out of the side to accommodate Sergio Ramos. With Marcelo still out with a fractured foot, Fabio Coentrao comes in at left-back.
Espanyol currently sit second from bottom in the table but Javier Aguirre can count on a full complement of players ahead of their trip to the capital. Christian Stuani will lead the line for the Catalan side while fellow South Americans Juan Forlin, Diego Colotto and Cristian Alvarez form the spine of the struggling side.
- Cristiano Ronaldo is currently the highest-scoring player for Mourinho’s side with 13 league goals this term. Only Lionel Messi and Radamel Falcao have scored more.
- Los Blancos ran out 5-0 winners in this fixture last season. Two goals from Gonzalo Higuain were added to by Ronaldo, Sami Khedira (pictured right) and Kaka.
- Espanyol have failed to score a single goal in their last six outings against los Blancos.
- The Catalan side have not tasted victory at the Bernabeu since a 2-1 win in the 1995-96 season.
- Los Blanquiblaus’ 75 seasons in La Liga makes them the longest-serving top-flight side to have failed to lift the championship.