Real Madrid welcome Athletic Bilbao to the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday, knowing they could be trailing second placed Atletico Madrid by as many as seven points by kickoff.
With the league title long gone, Madrid will want to finish as high as possible to end a disappointing season on a positive note – although Monday night's draw against Leganes hasn't helped their case.
Fans are unhappy with the prospect at finishing behind both bitter rivals Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, but it will take a strong end to the season – with just six games remaining – to avoid the third spot on the podium.
While Madrid haven't got much but pride to play for, Gaizka Garitano's men are chasing a Europa League spot, sitting three points behind sixth-placed Valencia and six from an unlikely Champions League spot, currently occupied by Sevilla.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Sunday 21 April|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||15:15 (BST)|
|Where Is it Being Played?||Santiago Bernabeu|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Eleven Sports 1|
|Referee?||Mario Melero Lopez|
Real have a handful of question marks coming into the weekend, with Thibaut Courtois still not fully fit and Vinicius Junior out since the beginning of March with a knee injury. Mariano has tendinitis and Sergio Ramos tweaked his hamstring in training, while Toni Kroos missed Madrid's last game after suffering a bout of gastroenteritis.
Courtois, Vinicius and Ramos stepped up their recoveries in individual training session this week, and have an outside chance of featuring on Sunday, but Kroos and Mariano are unlikely to make the matchday squad.
Mikel Rico (ankle), Ibai Gomez (ankle) and Ander Capa (muscle) have been ruled out by Garitano.
|Real Madrid||Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo; Casemiro, Modric, Ceballos; Isco, Benzema, Asensio.|
|Athletic Bilbao||Herrerin; de Marcos, Martinez, Alvarez, Yuri; D. Garcia, San Jose; Susaeta, Muniain, R. Garcia; Williams.|
Head to Head Record
The last three matches between the sides have been draws, Isco the hero (for a given value of 'hero') when they last met in September, snatching a point for Los Blancos after Iker Muniain put Bilbao ahead.
Los Leones haven't beaten Real since March 2015 though, and are without a win at the Bernabeu in 14 years. There have been nine draws between the teams, Madrid have won 34 and Bilbao have triumphed on 12 occasions.
Since being humbled by Barcelona and humiliated by Ajax, Madrid have won four out of six games.
The draw in their last match, against Leganes, was their first in the league since January, while defeat to Valencia was Zidane's only loss since his surprise return to the Bernabeu.
Despite an upturn in form, Madrid have only kept one clean sheet since Zidane returned – while the visitors are on a great run at the moment, winning four out of the last five games as they push for the final Europa League spot.
Recent losses to Getafe and Valencia, the two other sides in the hunt for a place in Europe's second most prestigious competition, could prove damaging but there are still 18 points up for grabs.
Here's how each side has fared in their last five matches.
|Leganes 1-1 Real Madrid (15/04)||Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Real Vallecano (14/04)|
|Real Madrid 2-1 Eibar (06/04)||Getafe 1-0 Athletic Bilbao (07/04)|
|Valencia 2-1 Real Madrid (03/04)||Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Levante (03/04)|
|Real Madrid 3-2 Huesca (31/03)||Girona 1-2 Athletic Bilbao (29/03)|
|Real Madrid 2-0 Celta Vigo (16/03)||Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Atletico Madrid (16/03)|
Madrid are capable of beating anyone on their day, but those days have been few and far between this season. Athletic's recent consistency does hint that, despite their poor record at the Bernabeu in the last decade, they could grab something on Sunday.
Prediction: Real Madrid 3-2 Athletic Bilbao.