All eyes will be on the Real Madrid touchline on Saturday as they host Celta Vigo in a match dripping with drama and subplots.
A dreadful week saw Los Blancos twice defeated by Barcelona to get knocked out of the Copa Del Rey and fall 12 points behind their arch-rivals in La Liga, while also getting eliminated from the Champions League in astonishing circumstances, losing 4-1 to Ajax at the Bernabeu.
Despite most recently beating Valladolid 4-1, the flurry of disastrous results cost Santiago Solari his job as manager and Real stunned the football world by bringing back Zinedine Zidane just nine months after the Frenchman's resignation.
While there isn't an expectation for Zidane's men to suddenly catch Barcelona
Where to Watch
|When Is Kickoff?||Saturday 16 March|
|What Time Is Kickoff?||15:15 (BST)|
|Where Is It Being Played?||Estadio Santiago Bernabéu|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BET365 Live Stream|
Zidane will have to cope with a handful of absences as he prepares for the first match of his second stint in charge of Los Blancos. Vinicius, Dani Carvajal, and Lucas Vasquez are all out for extended periods of time, while Gareth Bale has been sidelined indefinitely with an ankle injury. Casemiro is also unavailable after receiving a red card in the victory against Valladolid.
Rumours have claimed that Zidane's return could be bad news for under-fire keeper Thibaut Courtois due to the Frenchman's close ties to Keylor Navas, while there will likely be increased opportunities for Isco and Marcelo, both crucial contributors during Zidane's first reign.
Celta Vigo head to the Spanish capital without top-scorer Iago Aspas as the forward recovers from a calf injury that has kept him out of action for the past three matches.
|Real Madrid||Navas, Marcelo, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Ceballos, Modric, Kroos, Isco, Asensio, Benzema|
|Celta Vigo||Blanco, Mallo, Araujo, Costas, Hoedt, Junca, Lobotka, Yokuslu, Mendez, Boufal, Gomez|
Head to Head Record
These two sides have met 26 times in La Liga
In November, Real Madrid ran out comfortable 4-2 winners at the Balaidos, while the Spanish giants completed a 6-0 demolition of Celta in Madrid at the tail-end of last season.
Celta's most recent La Liga triumph over Real came in May 2014 to eliminate the ten-time Champions League winners from the title race, while their last league victory at the Bernabeu came in 2006.
Real Madrid's catastrophic recent form has made a trophyless season extremely likely and saw Solari sacked, although they did get back on track somewhat with the 4-1 victory away to Valladolid just 24 hours before Solari's termination.
Celta Vigo have also struggled in recent weeks as they face the prospect of relegation, losing four of their last five La Liga matches.
|Real Madrid||Celta Vigo|
|Valladolid 1-4 Real Madrid (10/03)||Celta Vigo 0-1 Real Betis (10/03)|
|Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax (05/03)||Eibar 1-0 Celta Vigo (03/03)|
|Real Madrid 0-1 Barcelona (02/03)||Alaves 0-0 Celta Vigo (23/02)|
|Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona (27/02)||Celta Vigo 1-4 Levante (16/02)|
|Levante 1-2 Real Madrid (24/02)||Getafe 3-1 Celta Vigo (09/02)|
A home tie against one of the league's most out of form teams is a perfect start for Zidane on paper, although Celta will be desperate themselves as they look to accumulate enough points to stave off relegation.
Freed from the shackles of Solari and back with their beloved Zidane, expect Real Madrid to ditch the troubles of this season and emerge as comfortable victors.
Real Madrid 3-0 Celta Vigo