Real Madrid will have to find a way to win without their superstar Cristiano Ronaldo for another game, when they host Sevilla in the La Liga on Wednesday.
The European champions did pretty well without Ronaldo, who is serving a two-match suspension for kicking out at an opponent, in their last game, easing past Real Sociedad 4-1 on Saturday.
With Barcelona, and to a certain extent champions Atletico Madrid, breathing down their neck, Real Madrid will be keen to extend their lead at the top to four points with victory in this match which was postponed owing to Real's Club World Cup commitments.
"The match against Sevilla will pose risks if we aren't at our best," said Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti. "The most important game is tomorrow's. We can extend our lead over our rivals and I'll field the best team possible.
"La Liga will be decided at the end, like it was last season. It's important to have a lead at this point, but it won't decide anything."
The three points will be far from easy, however, considering Sevilla are flying high at the moment, sitting fourth in the table on 42 points.
"Sevilla are a dangerous team because they have quality players and really compete," added Ancelotti. "They're very well organised, with players who can play on the break and in tight spaces. They have different characteristics.
"They have a really good counter-attack with [Carlos] Bacca or [Iago] Aspas, but they can also take care of the ball. They attack in numbers and look to press up front.
"It's going to be a great fight for fourth place, between Sevilla, Valencia, Villarreal and maybe Malaga. It'll be a fight right to the end."
While Sevilla are expected to eventually fight it out for a top four place, and with it a place in the Champions League, the reality is that if they pick up an unlikely victory at the Bernabeu on Wednesday, the deficit to Real Madrid will be cut to a mere six points.
With Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, who Real Madrid face on Saturday, already keeping up the pressure, that is the last thing that Ancelotti will want.
The Italian will also hope the heat on Gareth Bale reduces a little, after the Welshman was again booed by sections of the crowd during Real Madrid's 4-1 win over Real Sociedad.
"He's giving everything to help the team," said Ancelotti. "Last year he did well, and he's scored in all the finals we've played. He's having a fantastic season and we're calm because he's doing very well for the team.
"I don't think he heard the whistles in the match against Real Sociedad. He put in nice pieces of play which the crowd liked."
Where to Watch Live
The La Liga match is set to begin at 9 pm local time (1.30 am IST, 8 pm GMT, 3 pm ET) with live coverage in India on Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD4. Viewers in India can also catch all the match via live streaming online on Starsports.com.
Viewers in the UK can catch all the action on Sky Sports 1 while the option to live stream is on Sky Go. The Real Madrid vs Sevilla game will be shown live in the US and Canada on Bein Sports USA and Bein Sports Canada respectively with the live streaming option on Bein Sports Connect.