Zinedine Zidane and his team will be under absolutely no illusions as to just how important this game will be for Real Madrid's aspirations of keeping themselves in the title race.
The Madrid derby follows this match, a fixture where neighbours Atletico have had the lion's share of wins in recent times.
Atleti also have a difficult Champions League round of 16 tie away at PSV Eindhoven to encounter, whilst Real can metaphorically put their feet up for a week.
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Even more reason for them to put their heart and soul into a match-winning performance at La Roselada, a ground where they've enjoyed incredible success over the years.
Let's take a look at three things that could affect the outcome of this one.
When Real are looking for a result, there's arguably no more accommodating team for them to do so than Malaga.
In the last 14 years in all competitions, Los Boquerones have beaten Real on just one solitary occasion.
Over the same time frame the visitors have won 21 times, with three more being drawn.
It's a formidable record for Real, a horrible statistic that Javi Gracia and his side won't need reminding of.
The hosts do still have something to play for with Eibar sat just six points ahead of them in the European places.
A victory here will give them a real shot in the arm for the rest of the season.
Good cop, bad Cop
Although Gracia plays what could be perceived as a basic 4-4-2 formation, Malaga are a mobile outfit, as Barcelona found out just a few weeks ago.
Tight and compact, they can be hard to break down and both strikers are useful as an out ball when needed.
One is very definitely in better form than the other and if Charles can be isolated, the hosts are fairly moribund as an attacking force.
Of the 21 goals that Malaga have scored this season, Charles has nine of them. Partner Duje Cop has only weighed in with one.
Against Sergio Ramos and Pepe, the striking partnership will get chances. Gracia will be hoping they fall Charles' way.
This game will be won or lost in a fiercely competitive and congested midfield.
Fernando Tissone and Ignacio Camacho are workhorses but little else centrally. They'll put in a shift week-in and week-out but when you're looking for that little bit more, they can be found wanting.
Compare that to the Luka Modric, Toni Kroos axis.
The German in particular can benefit from Modric's more incisive foray's, buying him some time in which to distribute effectively to Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
His movement is second to none and neither Tissone nor Camacho will want to be dragged out of position to often.
What will be the outcome of this one? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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