Three teams who wear claret and blue will decide Real Madrid’s immediate future and that of Julen Lopetegui, as the next three fixtures see Los Blancos face Levante, Viktoria Plzen and Barcelona.
After the international break, two teams with a good recent record against Real Madrid will come face to face with Lopetegui’s team whilst no slip up can be afforded in the Champions League having lost to CSKA Moscow.
First up is Levante, who visit the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, October 20, at 13:00, the same time slot that saw Levante take a draw in the fixture last season.
That time, on September 9, 2017, Levante stunned the Bernabeu as Zinedine Zidane’s team struggled and Marcelo was sent off whilst Lucas Vazquez cancelled out Ivan Lopez’s opener.
This year, it will again be a tough fixture after an international break, with Madrid coming into the tie four games without a win and without scaring.
After that, the next league fixture is a Clasico at Camp Nou, on October 28.
Barcelona will be the worst possible rival to face, as they have proved to be in recent years with a 3-0 defeat and 2-2 draw last season, failing to beat the Catalans in 2016/17 either.
The worst result in recent years was in 2015/16 when Rafa Benitez came into the tie under pressure and with players just returning from injuries, but Barcelona ran out 4-0 winners.
After that game, Benitez was not immediately fired but his fate was decided, and currently, Lopetegui’s situation may not be much better.
Whatever the result, a win or a defeat could significantly impact the atmosphere around the club.
Between those two battles, another claret and blue side will visit the Bernabeu as Viktoria Plzen come to the capital on October 23.
Many will expect goals, particularly against the weakest team in the group who drew 2-2 with CSKA Moscow and lost 5-0 to AS Roma, but Madrid cannot take anything for advantage if they want to earn top spot.
A win is the only option, particularly ahead of a visit to Camp Nou the following weekend, though rotations may be required.