Real Madrid will have to shake off the disappointment of the Copa del Rey defeat to Barcelona in midweek ahead of Sunday's vital league game at home to Athletic Club Bilbao.
Madrid's 2-1 home defeat to Barca has had far reaching repercussions with almost universal criticism for central defender Pepe after his cowardly and deliberate stamp on Leo Messi's hand during the game.
Real Madrid's generally over-physical approach was also been criticized and the majority of fans are unhappy with the tactics of coach Jose Mourinho, who again changed a winning formula to tinker with his side to face Barca.
The home side can expect a frigid atmosphere in the Bernabeu at the start of the game and it will be up to the players to try and win the fans round. Mourinho will make changes to his starting 11 with Alvaro Arbeloa, Marcelo and Angel Di Maria coming into the starting 11 and Ricardo Carvalho, Gonzalo Higuain and Hemit Altintop dropping out of the side.
Real Madrid have only lost at home to Barcelona this season and have an 100 percent record against everyone else, so it will be interesting to see how they fare against an in-form and confident Athletic.
The Basque side defeated Mallorca 2-0 in the Cup on Wednesday and look set to book a place in the last four of the competition.
The team coached by Marcelo Bielsa have yet to concede a goal in 2012 and travel to Madrid on the back of 4-0, 3-0 and 2-0 home wins. The return of Spain international Fernando Llorente has been important to that form and Llorente could well be a candidate to score in the Bernabeu.
Athletic have scored their last six goals from headers, while Madrid's defense showed again on Wednesday that they can be vulnerable from crosses.
Mourinho will hope that his side' s speed on the break and usually lethal finishing will decide the match, but under Bielsa, Athletic's play has been compared to that of FC Barcelona and that is something Madrid have shown they suffer against time after time.