After three wins out of three to start the season, Madrid were frustrated by Athletic Club as they were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw.
With rivals Barcelona continuing their winning run, they cannot afford to drop more points at home against the Catalans' neighbours.
Madrid boast an enviable record in clashes with Espanyol, but will it be enough to see them past the challenge this weekend?
|Game||Real Madrid vs Espanyol|
|Date||Saturday, September 22|
|Time||7.45pm BST / 2.45pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live on beIN SPORTS and streamed on beIN SPORTS Connect .
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|beIN SPORTS||beIN SPORTS Connect|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be shown and live-streamed on Eleven Sports.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Eleven Sports||Eleven Sports|
Squads & Team News
|Position||Real Madrid players|
|Goalkeepers||Navas, Casilla, Courtois|
|Defenders||Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Nacho, Reguilon, Sanchez|
|Midfielders||Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, M. Llorente, Ceballos, Valverde|
|Forwards||Benzema, Bale, Asensio, Mariano, Vazquez, Vinicius Jr|
After impressing off the bench against Roma, Mariano has an excellent chance of making Julen Lopetegui's first team on Saturday.
Karim Benzema would be most likely to make way as Lopetegui looks to rotate his troops, while Alvaro Odriozola could also start in Dani Carvajal's place.
Confirmed Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Odriozola, Ramos, Varane, Nacho; Modric, Casemiro, Ceballos; Isco, Asensio, Benzema
|Goalkeepers||Roberto, Diego Lopez,|
|Defenders||Naldo, Duarte, Rosales, Darder, Didac, Melendo, Javi Lopez|
|Midfielders||Perez, Piatti, Roca, Hermoso, Granero, Pedrosa, Sanchez|
|Forwards||Borja Iglesias, Léo Baptistao, García.|
David Lopez is the only absence in Espanyol's squad for the weekend clash, having failed to recover from injury in time to make the cut.
Confirmed Espanyol XI: Diego López; Javi López, Naldo, Hermoso, Dídac; Darder, Marc Roca, Granero; Hernán, Borja Iglesias, Piatti.
Betting & Match Odds
Real Madrid are firm favourites to emerge victorious, with bet365 pricing them at 2/11 to take all three points. Espanyol are considered to be 14/1 shots, with a draw available at 6/1.
So far, life without Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo has been better than many at the Bernabeu may have initially feared.
Having lost the three-time Champions League winning coach at the end of last season, Madrid moved for Spain's Julen Lopetegui, who caused untold grief in announcing the decision just days before the World Cup.
The move did not work out very well for La Roja, but so far Madrid have barely missed a beat. Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have both stepped up to lead the attack in Ronaldo's absence and, after an early hiccup against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup, things are looking bright for the Merengue.
A demonstration of the side's offensive prowess even without the Portuguese star was glimpsed on Wednesday, when Roma were blown away 3-0 in the Champions League. Mariano, the returning striker whose absence raised eyebrows during the draw with Athletic, jumped off the bench to score his first goal since moving back from Lyon, while Bale and Isco also found the net in a comprehensive victory.
Now Madrid must look to keep up the same momentum against Espanyol, who suffered Ronaldo's wrath more than a few times over the last decade.
The Catalans have also started the season positively, sitting pretty in fourth place ahead of the likes of Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Sevilla. But the history books are against them for this clash.
February's 1-0 win over Madrid was the first time Espanyol had triumphed in the fixture since 2007, while one must go all the way back to 1996 to find their last victory at the Bernabeu.