Following their 6-0 humbling of Galatasaray in the Champions League, Real Madrid travel to Eibar looking to keep touch with La Liga leaders Barcelona.
Los Blancos are currently level on points with Barça but are second due to an inferior goal difference. Real have lost only once all season, but two draws in their last five have allowed their bitter rivals to leap up into top spot.
Meanwhile, Eibar have won their last two La Liga matches to haul themselves away from the bottom three and sit (relatively) comfortable in 14th. Unsurprisingly, Real have got the better of this fixture in recent times winning eight of the last 10 – but their most recent visit to Eibar resulted in a 3-0 defeat.
With Barcelona playing host to a struggling Celta Vigo side, Real will want to make sure they can match their result to maintain the chase for a La Liga title.
Here’s the most likely Real Madrid team as they go in search of their seventh win of the season.
Goalkeepers & Defenders
Thibaut Courtois (GK) - Of all Real Madrid’s signings in recent history, Courtois has come under the most scrutiny for his performances. Zinedine Zidane questioned his quality at the end of last season – even dropping him for his son Luca. However, the Belgian stopper has regained the faith of his boss and the Real fans by keeping a clean sheet in the last four games.
Dani Carvajal (RB) – Carvajal is currently playing some of the best football he has ever played in a Real Madrid shirt. He’s played eight of their 11 La Liga games this season, assisting four from the right back position. Carvajal is ahead of Alvaro Odriozola in the pecking order and will continue on the right side.
Raphael Varane (CB) – The Frenchman has become a bit of a forgotten man in world football following a poor campaign last season – but he remains first choice in this Real team even after the summer acquisition of Eder Militao. He has reformed his partnership with Sergio Ramos and Real look defensively solid again, conceding only nine goals so far this term.
Sergio Ramos (CB) – Whether you love him or you hate him – Sergio Ramos is one of, if not the, best centre backs in recent years. He has literally won it all – both at club level and international level. As he approaches 700 club career appearances, Real’s club captain shows no real signs of ageing having started all 11 La Liga games this season.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – Signed from Lyon in the summer for over £40 million, there were high hopes for Ferland Mendy. However, he’s started just three times in La Liga and has been unable to oust Marcelo from the side. However, the Brazilian picked up a knock in midweek, so the Frenchman will likely deputise.
Casemiro (DM) – Having played every minute of every La Liga game this season, Casemiro continues to prove why he is one of the best in his position. Sitting at the base of midfield, he plays the pivot role perfectly – ably sitting going forward and shoring things up in front of the back four.
Toni Kroos (CM) – The German scored in Real’s last La Liga win, a 5-0 thrashing of Leganes. Another Real player that has a point to prove after a lacklustre season last time out, Kroos has shown many of his critics that he’s still more than capable at the highest level.
Federico Valverde (CM) – With James Rodriguez struggling with injury and Luka Modric not the guaranteed starter that he once was, opportunities have arisen for 21-year-old Federico Valverde. The young midfielder has looked calm and composed this season, and may be given the opportunity to start in a fixture that should, in theory, carry less intensity.
Rodrygo (RW) - Rodrygo lit up the Bernabeu with his midweek performance in the Champions League as he scored his first (of what could be many) hat-trick for Real Madrid. Has also scored twice in two La Liga starts, and is now showing that he could fill the void left by Gareth Bale on the right-hand wing.
Karim Benzema (ST) – It’s weird to say that a player who has scored over 230 goals for Real Madrid could be underrated, but that appears to be the case for Benzema. Netted 30 times in all competitions last season, and his nine-goal return so fat this campaign has seen him keep new signing Luka Jovic watching on from the sidelines.
Eden Hazard (LW) – It’s been a slow start to live in Madrid for Hazard, but there’s no doubting that he has all the attributes to be a successful ‘Galactico’. Teething problems aside, With a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders, he’s returned just a single goal so far – but Zidane will keep faith with a player who is more than capable of silencing his critics.