Sergio Canales has made the squad list to feature against his former side. Jose Mourinho has named a 20-player panel, with Sergio Ramos, Kaka, Fernando Gago and Ezequiel Garay all missing because of injury problems. Mahamadou Diarra is simply overlooked because of a technical decision.
Pedro Munitis and Manuel Arana have both overcome physical worries to be named in the squad for the weekend, but Miguel Angel Portugal is without Alexandros Tziolis, Oscar Serrano and Adrian Gonzalez due to injuries.
Flying high | Real are currently in fine form
Finding top gear
Early season criticism of Real Madrid seems to be a thing of the past. Top of La Liga table, cruising in Europe and scoring goals, Mourinho's men will aim to continue their imperious form against a Racing Santander outfit they will hope to crush on Saturday.
The early weeks of the Jose Mourinho reign at the Bernabeu were typical of the Portuguese coach. His side was solid at the back and won narrowly with monotony, keeping style to a minimum. Over the last three weeks, however, Madrid have started to flex their offensive muscles, scoring 10 goals in their last two La Liga matches and looking like potential champions.
When faced with Milan, a side who brushed them off in the Spanish capital last season, Real looked capable of scoring a hatful of goals. In the end, Mourinho would have to settle for a 2-0 success against his great rivals from his spell with Inter; Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Oezil both registering in the opening 15 minutes to give the Spaniards an incredibly comfortable win.
“We are always improving,” the coach told Sky Sports after Tuesday’s game. “The players always want to learn, win and work hard. This is important for me and the team. We are a real team.”
With the goals starting to flow and the defence looking watertight, Real Madrid look the team to beat in Spain at present.
Keep it tight
Racing Santander coach Miguel Angel Portugal finds himself under pressure after seven weeks of action, yet this seems unfair when the club’s fixture list is considered. From the seven matches los Verdiblancos have played so far this term, five of them have been against sides competing in Europe this season.
Barcelona, Getafe, Valencia and Villarreal may have already recorded wins over the Cantabrian side, but these are hardly minnows, while the two winnable fixtures that Racing have played have both ended in their favour.
The latest success enjoyed by the Sardinero club came last weekend against Almeria, whom they beat by a solitary goal to stay clear of the relegation zone. And what a goal it was – Pedro Munitis driving a fierce shot high into the net from outside the box, ending a lengthy wait to score for the veteran attacker.
More moments like this are required offensively for the Santander club, who lost chief attacking threat Sergio Canales last summer, ironically to Real Madrid. Hardly potent going forward previously, Racing are now thoroughly impotent, having managed only four goals in the opening weeks of the season.
Twice last season Racing succumbed to Madrid, losing 1-0 at home in November and 2-0 away in April, but on both occasions they were at least competitive. Keeping the score close on this occasion is probably about the best they can hope for.