Real Madrid will look to build on their emphatic 5-0 win over Real Betis when they face Espanyol at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat on 12 September.
Real Madrid return to action after the international break with a trip to Catalonia to take on Sergio Gonzalez's Espanyol. With Real set to kick off their Champions League campaign midweek at home against Shakhtar Donetsk, Rafael Benitez is likely to rotate his squad and give some of his fringe players a chance to shine.
Benitez is without playmaker James Rodriguez (thigh) and defender Danilo (foot) after the duo sustained injuries while playing for Colombia and Brazil, respectively. Keylor Navas is set to keep his place in goal after a swap deal involving the Costa Rican and Manchester United's David de Gea collapsed in farcical fashion on transfer deadline day.
Espanyol opened their La Liga campaign with a 1-0 home win over Getafe before falling to a 3-1 defeat at Villarreal. The Catalans finished a respectable 10th in the La Liga standings last year, but saw several influential players leave the club in the summer transfer window.
On-loan midfielders Burgui and Marco Asensio will not be involved against Real, as they were barred from facing their parent club.
What managers say
Sergio Gonzalez: We had options to score and the result (against Villarreal) is a shame because the goals were avoidable and the team played a great game. The most important thing is to be calm because the team gave everything to get a result.
Rafael Benitez: We had a lot of positive things (against Betis) and a few small details to correct. That rewards the work and attitude shown by the players. The most positive thing can be summed up by the first five minutes: intensity, aggression, ambition and end product.
- Espanyol: LWLLW
- Last result: Villarreal 3-1 Espanyol
- Real Madrid (all competitions): WDWWD
- Last result: Real Madrid 5-0 Real Betis
Betting odds (888sport)
- Espanyol win: 9
- Draw: 9/2
- Real Madrid win: 3/10
Espanyol possible XI: P Lopez; Arbilla, Alvaro Gonzalez, Raillo, Duarte; Sanchez, J Lopez; Montanes, Sevilla, Alvarez; Caicedo
Real Madrid possible XI: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Modric; Jese, Isco, Ronaldo; Benzema