Real Madrid vs Rayo Vallecano – Estadio Santiago Bernabeu – Saturday 15th December – Kick off 5:30pm UK time
Santiago Solari’s Real Madrid side take on city neighbours Rayo Vallecano knowing three points could see them move as high as second in La Liga.
It was a poor start to the season for Los Blancos with Zinedine Zidane eventually sacked but they have climbed back up to fourth in the table and now find themselves just two points behind Atlético and Sevilla above them and five behind Barcelona.
They have won their last two league games, against Huesca and Valencia, but were convincingly beaten 3-0 at home in midweek by CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, albeit with a much changed line-up.
Visitors Rayo are currently second bottom of the table, four points from safety having won just twice all season with one of those victories coming against Huesca below them.
A 2-0 defeat to Real Betis last week did nothing to change their spirits after being knocked out the Copa del Rey be Leganes prior to that game in Seville.
The last competitive meeting between these two at the Bernabeu produced 12 goals and two red cards as Rayo recovered from a goal down to go 2-1 up before seeing both Tito and Raúl Baena sent off and eventually crashing to a massive 10-2 defeat.
Real also came out on top at the Vallecas that season, winning 3-2 with Rayo plunging down to the Segunda at the end of the campaign.
Real Madrid are without the injured Nacho Fernandez but could be boosted by the return of Toni Kroos who returned from injury off the bench in midweek. Gareth Bale picked up an ankle injury and is a doubt for Saturday’s game.
Rayo have Lass Bangoura, Gael Kakuta, Gorka Elustondo and Óscar Trejo missing through injury with Jordi Amat suspended and Raúl De Tomás ineligible against his parent club.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Llorente, Kroos; Vazquez, Benzema, Ceballos
Rayo Vallecano (4-4-2): Dimitrievski; Tito, Galvez, Velázquez, Moreno; Advíncula, Imbula, Comesaña, García; Alegría, Imbarba
Real Madrid 3-1 Rayo Vallecano