Real Madrid have been having a great run of late, winning their last four matches in all competitions. They will want to continue their impressive run as they face Malaga in an important encounter Sunday at La Roslaeda.
With Barcelona enjoying a healthy 10 point lead at the top, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, who lie second and third, respectively, in the La Liga table are doing all the chasing. At this point, Barcelona are favourites for the title, but Real will be keen to challenge them by winning their matches and trying to close the gap further if there is any hiccup from Barca.
Manager Zinedine Zidane is not expecting an easy game against Malaga, who are 11th. They are expected to be backed by their home fans to the hilt for a huge win, which can help them climb up the table.
"We have recovered well and are prepared to play in Malaga. It is going to be a difficult game against a good side I am sure it will be tough, like in Rome, but that is what we have each weekend. The important thing is to be ready from the outset," Zidane was quoted as saying by the club's official website.
"The difficult thing is we are going to have difficult games away and at home, but more difficult away ones due to the fans. I hope that we show determination, are attentive, and intense with everything that we do. All the games are going to be difficult".
Real Madrid have been scoring goals for fun of late. They have scored 14 goals in all competition in their last four matches. With players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez, they have an incredible offensive line in the La Liga.
Despite their scoring record, they have been somewhat unconvincing in their last two La Liga away games, against Real Betis and Granada. They drew with Betis and won narrowly against Granada in their last away game.
However, Real Madrid should have their tails up. They defeated Roma in their last away game in the Champions League during the midweek.
Malaga, who are underdogs for the La Liga match, will need to come up with a solid defensive game and play on the counter to take any points from Real. Teams have troubled Real Madrid this season with solid play at the back, not giving them much space.
However, Malaga's manager Javi Gracia does not want to focus on defence alone, but also on the offensive side of things.
"Against Real Madrid you can't exclusively defend as you will possibly lose the match. We need to find the right balance in order to be aggressive on the attack. It's also important that the goalkeepers of teams who come up against Real Madrid are successful as it'll be demanding," Gracia was quoted as saying by club's official website.
Though Real are expected to take three points, Malaga will be eager to stop them from winning, which can have a bad impact on Madrid's title challenge.
Where to watch live
Malaga vs Real Madrid is scheduled for a 5 p.m. CET (8:30 p.m. IST, 3 p.m. GMT, 10 a.m. ET) start, with live TV coverage in India on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD. Viewers in India can also watch Malaga vs Real Madrid via live-streaming online on Sony Liv.
Football fans in Spain can catch Malaga vs Real Madrid live on Canal+ Liga and Movistar Futbol.
Viewers in the UK can watch Malaga vs Real Madrid live on Sky Sports 3/HD with live-streaming on Sky Go.
Bein Sports andBein Sports Connect will broadcast Malaga vs Real Madrid in the US.