With Barcelona in perfect form so far in the La Liga, Real Madrid will know they cannot afford any trip-ups when they travel to San Mames to face Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be the cynosure again for this La Liga match against the Spanish Super Cup champions, with the Portuguese superstar just a goal shy of matching Raul's all-time goalscoring record for Real Madrid.
Ronaldo, who is already the holder of the La Liga record for his club, has 322 goals to his name, with Raul at the top of the perch on 323. A brace against Athletic Bilbao and the forward will create history yet again.
"I'd be more excited about winning the match," an unperturbed Rafa Benitez said. "If we win and also happen to set a new record then I'll be even happier. The team need to be competitive in order to win and if new records are set then we'll be even happier.
"As of today he's physically fine. At no point have I ever thought about favouring anyone apart from the team. As such the player who scores 60 goals in a season has to be considered."
While Ronaldo is on the cusp of history, so is Jesus Navas, who is 71 minutes away from breaking a long-held Real Madrid record of not conceding a single goal to start the season. The current mark is 431 minutes, set by Miguel Angel in 1975-76.
Real Madrid's success so far this season has been built on a solid defence – unsurprising for a Rafa Benitez team – and the 2014 Champions League winners will know another clean sheet and the three points will probably be in their bag, even if they struggled to find the back of the net, needing a Karim Benzema header, in the La Liga game at the weekend.
Athletic Bilbao are under pressure to pick up points after managing just one win in four matches so far – the other three have been losses – and Benitez knows a similar result to the one from last season, when Real Madrid lost, is a definite possibility if they don't bring their A-game.
"We know that Athletic are a difficult opponent," Benitez added. "Real Madrid lost [at San Mames] last year. We have to be focused, continue doing things as we have been up until now and increase our intensity levels. It will be a tough game that can help us maintain and build on our confidence levels.
"They are a tight team that work hard and have a clear game plan. I'm expecting a difficult match."
Where to Watch Live
Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao is set to begin at 9 pm local time (12.30 am IST, 8 pm BST, 3 pm ET). Sony Six will show the La Liga match live in India. Viewers in India can also watch the match via live streaming online on Livsports.
Audience in the USA, Canada, Australia, the Middle East and North Africa will be able to watch Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid live on Bein Sports, while the live stream option is on Bein Sports Connect.
Viewers in the UK can watch the La Liga match live on Sky Sports4, while Real Madrid vs Bilbao can also be live streamed on Sky Go. Spain viewers can catch the match live on Canal+.