Zinedine Zidane is counting on Real Madrid to produce a second masterclass away from home this week as they turn their focus back onto domestic matters.
The Spanish giants took a giant stride towards the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday after coming from behind to see off 10-man Bayern Munich 2-1 at the Allianz Arena.
It was a seventh win from eight in all competitions, while they will hope to stretch their unbeaten run to 11 games when they travel to northern Spain to take on Sporting Gijon, who will end the weekend in the bottom three even if they upset the odds on Saturday afternoon.
Real will be aiming to at least maintain their three-point lead at the top of the LaLiga table but, despite the teams’ differing fortunes this season, Zidane is taking nothing for granted.
One of the only downsides to emerge from their triumph in Bavaria was Gareth Bale being withdrawn in the second half after complaining of a niggle.
Zidane revealed the Welsh forward is struggling with a calf injury on the same leg on which he underwent ankle surgery that forced him to miss three months of this campaign.
Bale will, therefore, be sidelined in Gijon with a view towards being included for Tuesday’s second leg against Bayern.
Let’s have a look at how Real Madrid could potentially lineup on Saturday…
Keylor Navas could be rested for this game with Kiko Casilla possibly being drafted in, however, the lack of first team games for the former Espanyol keeper could force him to carry on watching from the bench.
Dani Carvajal misses out due to suspension for the visitors, which nails down Danilo’s starting place at right-back.
Raphael Varane and Pepe are set to be long-term absentees at centre-back, meaning that Sergio Ramos and Nacho have a congested fixture list ahead of them.
Marcelo continues at left-back with no real backup for the Brazilian to have a rest.
The likes of Isco, Lucas Vazquez, and Mateo Kovacic could all rotate in with German Toni Kroos likely to be rested for the game on Saturday.
Lack of defensive midfield backup would mean that the influential Casemiro will start again with Luka Modric playing alongside him, however, fellow countryman Kovacic could be played instead.
James Rodriguez, Alvaro Morata and Marcos Asensio will most likely to come into the lineup with Madrid feeling they can rest Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo after their important 2-1 win over Bayern Munich.
With ‘BBC’ getting a well-deserved rest, Real Madrid still have a mouth-watering starting XI with Morata keen to impress further with a potential move away from the Bernabeu in the summer.