Real Madrid return to La Liga action on Sunday and are out to bounce back from their recent Clasico humiliation with a trip to face Celta Vigo.
Los Merengues fell apart in their home game against Barcelona, being embarrassed 3-0 on Dec. 23. That result stretched the distance that separates them from the league-leading Blaugrana to 14 points.
Real shot back to winning ways when they beat Numancia 3-0 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey round-of-16 clash on Thursday, but the landscape in La Liga remains rather dire.
Zinedine Zidane's men are fourth in the standings with a game in hand over their peers and will be desperate to hit form on Sunday after failing to win in each of their past three away league games.
Read on for a preview of Sunday's clash and a look at all the latest team news leading up to the match at Balaidos.
Date: Sunday, January 7
Time: 7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Municipal de Balaidos, Vigo, Spain
TV Info: Sky Sports (UK)
The only significant injury worry for Zidane is frontman Karim Benzema, who has been added to the absentee list after some concern regarding his fitness emerged over the winter break.
Patricia Terroba reported for Marca that Benzema will miss "the first few games of 2018," with Zidane recently revealing the injury was picked up during El Clasico and not during the layoff, per ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan.
Real will also be without right-back Dani Carvajal, who will miss the Celta clash through suspension following his red card against Barcelona. That means Zidane could select the 19-year-old Achraf Hakimi at right-back.
Celta have a clean bill of health, and Jozabed and Iago Aspas recently made their returns to the team after each serving a one-match ban for picking up five cautions this season.
While Real collapsed 3-0 at home to Barca, Celta gave a much stronger account of themselves against La Liga's leaders on Thursday, earning a 1-1 draw at home to the Blaugrana in the first leg of their Copa del Rey clash.
OptaJose noted Celta have scored 12 goals against Barcelona over the past three seasons, which is more than any other club in that time—proof of their nerve when it comes to facing the big guns.
And Real are less intimidating than has been the case for some time, with their recent FIFA Club World Cup win failing to gloss over their miserable league title defence.
Los Blancos have won only one of their past four domestic matches and have a lot of questions in need of resolutions following their demolition at Barca's hands.
Celta will be the first opponent to test Real's fortitude since that humbling, and Zidane's side will either showcase a high resolve or a further indication they are lacking certain title-winning criteria.