Real Madrid will chase a fourth victory in succession in all competitions when they travel to Huesca on Sunday.
Santi Solari’s men were victorious 6-1 in the Copa del Rey last-32 second-leg clash with Melilla on Thursday, despite fielding a heavily rotated side, while they remain on the fringes of the race for the Primera Division title after a slow start to the campaign by their standards.
Huesca, who are in their debut season in the top flight, are predictably finding things tough, with just seven points from 14 matches.
They were dumped out of the cup in midweek following a second 4-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao and need a dramatic turnaround if they are to trouble the European champions.
|Game||Huesca v Real Madrid|
|Date||Sunday, December 9|
|Time||3:15 pm GMT/ 10:15am ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched on beIN Sports and streamed via beIN Sports Connect.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|beIN Sports||beIN Sports Connect|
IIn the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be streamed via Eleven Sports 1.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|N/A||Eleven Sports 1|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Werner, Santamaria, Jovanovic|
|Defenders||Etxeita, Semedo, Pulido, Akapo, Luisinho, Insua, Brezancic, Miramon, Lopez|
|Midfielders||Aguilera, Gomez, Ferreiro, Melero, Camacho, Gurler, Sastre, Musto|
|Forwards||Hernandez, Gallar, Longo, Avila|
Left-back promises to be a serious area of concern for the hosts, with Luisinho out for much of the season with a serious knee injury while Carlos Akapo will not feature again this year because of a hamstring problem.
A broken toe, meanwhile, keeps top scorer Alex Gallar on the sidelines.
Possible Huesca starting XI: Jovanovic; Miramon, Insua, Pulido, Etxeita, Ferreiro; Gomez, Aguilera, Rivera; Avila, Hernandez.
|Position||Real Madrid squad|
|Goalkeepers||Casilla, Courtois, Luca|
|Defenders||Ramos, Carvajal, Odriozola, Varane, Marcelo, Javi Sanchez|
|Midfielders||Kroos, Modric, Valverde, Llorente, Asensio, Isco, Ceballos|
|Forwards||Benzema, Bale, Lucas Vazquez, Vinicius Jr.|
Gareth Bale has shrugged off a knock to earn a place in Santiago Solari's starting line-up while Luka Modric will play his first match since being crowned the Ballon d’Or winner earlier this week.
Marcelo did not travel despite training all week, meaning Alvaro Odriozola again fills in at full-back.
Isco, who scored twice against Melilla, is has again been overlooked as he fights for game time under the new coach.
Real Madrid starting XI: Courtois; Odriozola, Varane, Ramos, Carvajal; Modric, Llorente, Ceballos; Vazquez, Benzema, Bale.
Betting & Match Odds
Huesca are rank outsiders, with a price of 9/1 given by bet365 on them to win the match. Real Madrid are 3/10 favourites and a draw is 9/2.
Santi Solari could not have asked for a much smoother start to life as Real Madrid head coach. A stunning 3-0 loss to Eibar aside, the former reserve boss has a flawless record since taking over from Julen Lopetegui in the aftermath of the team’s 5-1 Clasico collapse against Barcelona.
Seven wins in eight matches represents a steadying of the ship, and with La Liga lacking a standout side in the first half of the season, the five-point gap to leaders Barca now seems thoroughly bridgeable.
Solari, though, does not simply have his eyes focused on domestic glory. Madrid are defending their Champions League title and have already secured progression to the knockout stage ahead of a Wednesday meeting with CSKA Moscow, while they have the Club World Cup to consider in the UAE later this month.
The coach, who is nevertheless giving his wounded players every opportunity to be fit for the later competition, wants his team to be concentrated on the present.
“There's no time to think about it - we are not even sure who is in. The final of the Libertadores is being played here on Sunday,” he said, speaking after the midweek clash.
“We are just looking at the next game, so we are still far away. There are many matches before that. There are three, two in La Liga which are vital for us, and the other one comes in the Champions League.
“After that, we will have time to think about the Club World Cup. It's a competition that I am passionate about, I think it's brilliant.”
Huesca, meanwhile, must only concentrate on the league, having already been knocked out of the Copa del Rey following two thumping 4-0 losses to Athletic Bilbao.
After beating Eibar on the opening day of the season, they have gone 15 games without a win in all competitions and suffered a chastening 8-2 loss against Barcelona.
Against another of Spain’s two great heavyweights, they will hope to avoid a similar fate.