Real Madrid are up next in La Liga and following Barcelona's Luis Suarez inspired comeback win against Almeria, Los Blancos know they need a win against Rayo Vallecano to retake top spot.
That shouldn't be a problem as Madrid have won the last 12 matches against Rayo dating back to 2001. The streak is currently a record amongst the current La Liga representatives and a win here today will equal the all-time record.
However, a few key absentees to Madrid's backline might make them shaky but the attack is as impressive looking as ever as Bale makes his return to the starting line-up. Check out who will take to the field at the Bernabeu below this text:
2nd min: The first shot of the game falls to Real Madrid as Cristiano Ronaldo has a pot shot from the left flank. It swerved and it dipped but Alvarez calmly collected it.
6th min: Was it a cross? Was it a shot? Only Gael Kakuta knows as his wild shot from the left flank drifts aimlessly out for a goal-kick. He puts his hands up to apologise, as he should.
9th min: GOAL! We have out first goal of the game and it belongs to Real Madrid. Karim Benzema, Ronaldo and lastly Toni Kroos link up on the left flank to cross for the in coming Gareth Bale. This is of course Bale's first start after overcoming an injury. He'll be delighted with that as Isco's strong performances sparked rumours Bale lost his place.
18th min: Benzema and James Rodriguez fashion out a chance for Cristiano Ronaldo inside the left side of the area, although the strike his high and wild.
22nd min: Roberto Trashorras gets a away without a yellow as he slid into James Rodriguez. Rayo count their blessings and on loan Atletico Madrid striker, Leo Batistao tries a long range shot, though Keylor Navas gets a hand to it.
25th min: Mohammed Fatau is another Rayo player lucky to escape a card. Real Madrid broke on the attack and were soon about to encroach the Rayo penalty area. Fatau, cynically took down Ronaldo but strangely no card was shown. It wouldn't have been a red as Emiliano Insua who have covered him.
26th min: Insua is forced off after he appears to have badly pulled a muscle. Quini is his replacement.
Normally when Real Madrid get an early goal the opposition are buried with an avalanche of goals before they can breathe. Credit to Rayo for staying in this long.
37th min: James Rodriguez gets fed up of the passing and attempts to take matters into his own hands. His shot from the middle of the park was powerful and needed saving from Alvarez, luckily he did save it.
40th min: GOAL! Real Madrid are all about style aren't they? Even their defenders can't score simply goals. James Rodriguez's inswinging cross finds Sergio Ramos on the edge of the box who volleys the ball with his side foot into the goal. Ramos' goal is his 50th in a Real Madrid shirt - he has got to that total quicker than Andres Iniesta!
43rd min: GOAL! Alberto Bueno makes Keylor Navas look silly as he round the Madrid keeper to put Rayo back into the game. The fault lies with James Rodriguez as it was his dreadful backpass that allowed Baptistao to steal the ball and play in Bueno.
It is half time at the Santiago Bernabeu and it is tight contest as both teams are equal in everything except the scoreline.
Here are a few stats to support that claim:
Real Madrid 8-7 Rayo Vallecano
Real Madrid 5-4 Rayo Vallecano
Real Madrid 2-3 Rayo Vallecano
Real Madrid 3-7 Rayo Vallecano
Real Madrid 47% - 53% Rayo Vallecano
53th min: A statement of intent has been made by Rayo Vallecano. They have the ball in the back of the goal but it was ruled offside. Replay's showed it was a correct decision but extremely marginal. Lady luck won't strike twice.
55th min: GOAL! Absolutely sublime by Toni Kroos. Ronaldo breaks down the right and pulls the ball back for Kroos, who from 25 yards, uses the players in front of him as a shield and passes the ball into the back of the net. Out of this world!
58th min: GOAL! Remember what I said about lady luck? Well she is smiling down on Real Madrid right now. Ronaldo's cross-shot is tapped in by Benzema but was offside by quite a margin. I can hear fans everywhere saying: "only the big teams get big decisions", hard to argue what that right now.
71 min: Manchester United old boy Manucho comes on for Baptistao.
73rd min: Madrid will probably win this game at a canter but the scoreline belies what has actually happened. From a corner, Navas made a mistake in coming out and Abdoulaye Ba nearly makes him pay as he reaches the ball first and narrowly misses the target.
77th min: Alberto Bueno has been a handful and is unlucky to be on the losing side. Twice in the space of a minute he has created chances for his teammates. The first time his final ball was intercepted otherwise Rayo would have been on a one-on-one. The second time the ball reaches Manucho although his shot is tame and Navas saves.
79th min: WOWZERS! Gareth Bale rips off a powerful shot that glances the fingertips of Alvarez and cannons off the bar. Alvarez is another Rayo player that has stood tall today.
That goal is Ronaldo's 18th La Liga goal and his 10th in a row.
Here are the stats from the match:
Real Madrid 16-15 Rayo Vallecano
Real Madrid 11-6 Rayo Vallecano
Real Madrid 4-6 Rayo Vallecano
Real Madrid 12-15 Rayo Vallecano
Real Madrid 44%-56% Rayo Vallecano