Alaves are winless after five matches and are the only team in La Liga yet to score a goal. On paper, last year's Cinderella story―they were in the mix for a UEFA Europa League ticket until late in the season―is the perfect opportunity for Los Blancos to grab some momentum.
Here's everything you need to know for the upcoming match.
Date: Saturday, September 23
Time: 3:15 p.m. BST/10:15 a.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Mendizorrotza, Vitoria-Gasteiz
TV Info: BeIN Sports (U.S.)
Live Stream: BeIN Sports Connect
Per WhoScored.com, Real's defensive crisis will not be resolved before the match, with Marcelo and Theo Hernandez both sidelined and Jesus Vallejo also likely to miss out. Mateo Kovacic and Karim Benzema are both injured as well.
Munir El Haddadi and Bojan Krkic are both doubts for Alaves, and Hector Hernandez is expected to miss out.
To say Betis' win at the Santiago Bernabeu came as a shock would be an understatement―Sky Sport Statto shared this statistic, showing just how long it had been since the side came to Madrid and beat the La Liga giants:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
Antonio Sanabria is the 1st Real Betis player to score a winning goal in @LaLiga at Bernabeu since Finidi George in Oct 1998 https://t.co/1VAf93fMiq2017-9-20 21:56:34
Even with Cristiano Ronaldo returning, Los Blancos were toothless in front of goal, seemingly devoid of all creativity. Betis got lucky at times, but overall they defended rather comfortably against a Real side that appeared to lack width.
Per Goal's Ben Hayward, the result brought an end to an incredible scoring streak for the champions:
Ben Hayward @bghayward
Real Madrid had scored in their last 73 matches in all competitions but couldn't today, even with Ronaldo back. Problems at home in La Liga.2017-9-20 21:57:40
Real have now won just two of their first five La Liga matches, scoring almost half the amount of goals Barcelona have―17 to nine―and conceding at a higher rate as well, five to two.
The gap between the two sides is already seven points, a stunning development given the fact Barcelona entered the season with plenty of question marks, and the Catalans were the ones embarrassed in the Spanish Super Cup.
Fortunately for Los Blancos, they should be able to grab some momentum during the weekend. Alaves were the feel-good story of the 2016-17 campaign, surviving comfortably in their first season back in La Liga, but they've had a nightmare start to the new season.
The Basques' scoring woes are far worse than those of Real; in two matches at home, they've conceded five goals already. Coupled with a few key injuries, Alaves appear ripe for the picking―even if the Estadio Mendizorrotza can be a tricky venue to visit at times.