Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has to overcome the absence of three key players when his side travels to play Betis on Saturday night.
The knee injury suffered by Sergio Ramos during Spain’s 2-0 win in Albania a week ago means the central defender is sidelined for around 6 weeks.
Meanwhile midfielder Luka Modric is also out of action for a similar time, while Casemiro is still out after breaking a bone in his leg around a month ago.
The loss of Modric and Casemiro will take balance away from Zidane’s side and although Ramos had not been at his best at the start of the current campaign, his loss leaves Zidane with less options to rotate in central defense during a hectic period of the season.
Real Madrid saw their performances dip worryingly before the international break with 4 draws from four games: the last of which a poor display at home to Eibar, and they have dropped behind Atletico Madrid in the table.
The coach will take heart from the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo recovered his scoring touch during the international break, but it remains to be seen whether goals against Andorra and the Faroe Islands mean the Portuguese striker is back to his best.
Real Madrid have won just one league title in the last eight years and speaking at an event in Madrid on Thursday, Ronaldo said it was time for them to lift another Primera Liga.
“We want to win the league, it is a competition where we need to be more consistent,” he said.
“It is an important title and I hope we can win it this year, because Real Madrid cannot be so many years without winning the league,” continued Ronaldo, who said his companions were “optimistic and excited that we are going to win it.”
He shrugged off recent poor results saying it was “the start of the season and every team is working hard, so I think it is normal. It is a long campaign and we have to keep calm, work hard and keep on improving.”
Betis have just 8 points from their last 7 games, but their Benito Villamarin Stadium will be full for the game as they look to build on a series of improved defensive displays.