La Liga Preview: Real Madrid v Malaga
Real Madrid are sweating on the fitness of Gareth Bale ahead of their fixture with Malaga at the Bernabeu on Saturday.
The Welshman has made just three appearances in all competitions for the club since his world-record move from Premier League outfit Tottenham.
Bale has been struggling with a thigh problem, and reports surfaced in the Spanish media that the 24-year-old had suffered a slipped disc in his back.
But those rumours were strongly denied by the club and president Florentino Perez revealed Bale is hoping to be fit for the showdown with former Madrid boss Bernd Schuster's side.
However, Real will definitely still be without Xabi Alonso who remains sidelined following surgery on a groin problem and a fractured metatarsal in recent months.
Carlo Ancelotti's charges head into the fixture on the back of a 3-2 victory away to Levante before the international break.
Injury-time goals from Alvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo were required to rescue an unlikely three points after Nabil El Zhar had given the hosts a 2-1 lead in the 86th minute.
The result maintained Real's grasp on third place, with the club taking 19 points from a possible 24 so far, leaving them adrift of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, who have 100 per cent records.
Real will be keen to build momentum ahead of important fixtures with Juventus in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday and the first Clasico of the season away to Barcelona on October 26.
Malaga have had indifferent start to the campaign, winning just two of their eight matches.
The Estadio La Rosaleda outfit sit in 10th position, and are looking to bounce back from their 1-0 home defeat to Osasuna.
And midfielder Fernando Tissone is confident of an upset against Ancelotti's men.
He told the club's official website: "There are a lot of quality teams in the Spanish League and any team can defeat any rival.
"It’s crucial we make the most out of every opportunity and play with a great degree of determination. We can defeat any team."
Victory will not come easily, however, the last time the sides met in May, Real consigned Malaga to a heavy 6-2 defeat.