With Real Sociedad currently being one of only two teams with a 100% record in La Liga, Los Txuri-Urdin go into the fourth league game of the season facing their toughest opponents so far this season. On Sunday the Anoeta Stadium will play host to a matchup between Real Sociedad and reigning Spanish and European champions, Real Madrid.
While Los Blancos are currently undefeated across all competitions this season, they sit in seventh place in the league with only one win to their name. Undoubtedly Zinedine Zidane's men will pick up from where they left off last season sooner rather than later, many will be hoping Sociedad are capable of seeing off the champions as they come to visit.
Early into the 2013/14 season Real Madrid hosted Real Sociedad as Cristiano Ronaldo netted the 23rd hat-trick of his career, as Carlo Ancelotti managed Madrid to a 5-1 victory two goals from open play and one from the spot saw Madrid's Portuguese talisman brush aside the visitors and help his side to a convincing victory.
First half goals from Karim Benzema and Sami Khedira and a brace from the aforementioned Roanldo saw Madrid go into the break 4-0 up at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ever the thorn in Real's side, Antoine Griezmann, then of Real Sociedad, pulled one back for the visitors with a rising effort. However, it was far too little, too late and Ronaldo went on to complete his hat-trick and cement a convincing 5-1 win for Madrid.
Juanmi vs Sergio Ramos
Juanmi scored Real Sociedad's opener in their previous match, a 4-2 win over Deportivo La Coruna, and is Sociedad's main threat when going forward. The 24-year-old striker has already netted three goals in La Liga this season and looks as though he could add to his tally against almost any opponent. He has great composure in front of goal and the pace to give Madrid some issues.
However, Galacticos captain, Sergio Ramos, is a stoic figure in the Ream Madrid and Spain defence, capable of shutting down even the best striker on his day. Going forward he offers almost as much as he does at the back, and so should find himself capable of dealing with Juanmi on Sunday.
Injury problems have plagued Real Sociedad's defensive ranks, leaving them with difficulty picking a strong back line, which could prove to be costly against one of the world's best attacking teams.
Carlos Martinez continues his road to recovery after suffering a ruptured cruciate ligament in December 2016 however, it may not be too long until the Spaniard can make his return to the Txuri-Urdin defence. Elsewhere Inigo Martinez and Raul Navas miss the match through a knee injury and muscular issues, while winger Mikel Oyarzabal is also absent due to muscular problems.
As for Real Madrid, the champions will be without Cristiano Rinaldo as he serves the final game of his domestic ban following his controversial dismissal in the Supercopa de Esapana. Also Marcelo will also miss the trip to Sociedad as he received a red card in the 1-1 draw against Levante.
Following the 3-0 victory over APOEL Nicosia, Mateo Kovacic has been ruled out with a rupture of the pattella while Karim Benzema will serve a length of time on the treatment table due to a hamstring injury. Marco Asensio looks likely to return to the Madrid starting lineup after missing Wednesday's game against APOEL with an infection.
Potential Real Sociedad lineup: Rulli, Odriozola, Elustondo, Llorente, Rodrigues, Prieto, Illarramendi, Zurutuza, Januzaj, Jose, Juanmi
Potential Real Madrid lineup: Navas, Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Hernandez, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Asensio, Isco, Bale
Real Madrid will be keen to get their domestic record back on track after failing to register a win in their last two league games. Although they fielded a weakened side against Levante in the interest of focusing on the Champions League, it is likely they will return to full strength on Sunday with the hopes of dismantling Real Sociedad's 100% record.
While Sociedad are the least well-rested of the two sides following a Thursday night clash against Rosenborg. Despite them being the side with the better run of form, it will be an uphill battle if they are to get anything out of their meeting with Real Madrid, even if the champions are without two of their famous Benzema, Bale, Cristiano (BBC) trio.
Prediction: Real Sociedad 1-3 Real Madrid