Fresh from winning his 100th Spain cap, goalkeeper Iker Casillas returns to club duty with Real Madrid insisting they mustn't start thinking about the 'Clasico' against Barcelona in ten days' time.
Real sit a point behind champions Barcelona going into Saturday's home match against Racing Santander and Casillas believes Real can't start getting ahead of themselves.
"The president (Florentino Perez) has made a great effort for this season and we have to keep looking forward, not to the Champions League final at the Bernabeu (Real's home ground) or the game against Barcelona, but the next game against Racing Santander," said Casillas, who reached the 100-cap mark in last weekend's friendly against Argentina.
Despite heavy summer investment, Real won't be matching Barcelona's treble of last season after they were knocked out of the King's Cup by third-division Alcorcon in new coach Manuel Pellegrini's first major setback.
Pellegrini has had a public row with 33-year-old veteran Guti - who could be on his way out of the club after 14 years of service - but insists he has a good rapport with his players. "It is a great group and I have a good relationship with the players. I know what I am doing," said the Chilean coach.
Racing hope the appointment of new coach Miguel Angel Portugal can lift the players for the Real trip after the club parted company with Juan Carlos Mandia. Cristiano Ronaldo has said he is ready to return against Racing following an ankle injury but Pellegrini is likely to choose to give the Portuguese star more time with the game at Barcelona on the horizon.
Barcelona are unbeaten in the league this season, with eight wins and two draws from their first ten games, but have a tough trip to San Mames to face Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. "It is vital we win in San Mames and gain more confidence," said Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes. "It's important to retain the lead not just over Real Madrid but any team."
Sevilla are the only team who look capable of keeping pace with the top two, lying four points behind pace-setters Barcelona ahead of Saturday's trip to Tenerife. "The squad we had two seasons ago was good and won titles (UEFA Cups in 2006 and 2007) but I think the current squad has even more quality," said Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute.
In other matches, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal both need to start collecting wins if they are to mount a challenge for a UEFA Champions League spot this season. Atletico languish fourth from bottom - 14 points off the top four - and have a difficult trip to fifth-placed Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday, while Villarreal are two points better off and host Valladolid on Sunday.
With two UEFA Champions League hopefuls floundering, Valencia have taken full advantage to climb up to fourth after going 11 games unbeaten in all competitions. They travel to Pamplona to face Osasuna on Sunday.