Carlo Ancelotti's men have slipped from first in the Primera Division to third after back-to-back defeats, first at home to Barcelona and then away to Sevilla
Real Madrid's players still believe they can win La Liga but have acknowledged the importance of Saturday's home clash versus Rayo Vallecano.
Carlo Ancelotti's men will enter the match hoping to avoid a third defeat in less than a week, with Sunday's Clasico loss at home to Barcelona having been followed by a 2-1 reverse at Sevilla on Wednesday.
Those results have seen Los Blancos drop to third in the table, two points behind Barcelona, and three adrift of city rivals Atletico.
It means Saturday's fixture in the Spanish capital takes on extra significance, with Madrid's title chances hinging on a positive result.
Gareth Bale arrived in Madrid to much fanfare in the close-season and now would be the opportune moment for the €100 million man to show why Madrid spent so much time – and money – in chasing him, with the Wales international now having gone more than a month without a goal.
One man who is having no problems finding the net is Cristiano Ronaldo, who tops the league's scoring charts with 27.
At the other end of the field, Madrid will welcome Sergio Ramos back from suspension after his controversial dismissal against Barcelona.
Rayo travel to Santiago Bernabeu in a buoyant mood, having embarked on a five-match unbeaten run that has included four wins.
That form has helped them move five points clear of the relegation zone but they left it late on Wednesday, beating Osasuna 1-0 thanks to Joaquin Larrivey's penalty in second-half stoppage time.
Rayo gave Madrid a run for their money in November's reverse fixture, when a pair of Jonathan Viera penalties in the second half set up a nervy finish before los Blancos ultimately held on to claim a 3-2 win.
Rayo do have the propensity to get beaten badly, though, having conceded four or more goals in eight league fixtures this season.
And for that reason alone, they will be wary of a Madrid side desperate to atone for a poor week.