It's a fair bet that Real Madrid wouldn't have envisaged being in second place in the lead up to this edition of El Clasico, especially given that Barcelona have had to endure more injury problems than Rafael Benitez's side.
No matter, Benitez will know exactly what's required and how to implement it come kick-off time on Saturday evening.
Far too often in the past the Spaniard doesn't get the credit that he deserves and already certain sections of the media are lining up to berate the manager because his Madrid side are not quite the swashbucklers that fans of Los Blancos are used to.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay5
In any event, Real are in decent shape and a win against their eternal rivals will send them back to the top of the La Liga table.
Here's three reasons why they'll get it...
Rafa Benitez isn't in the job to make friends. It's to get results. Plain and simple.
It would appear that even some of his own playing staff are rounding on him, but it won't bother him a jot.
With the Spain game cancelled, the manager at least has the luxury of a few players back earlier than expected and he will have everyone working overtime in the lead up to the game.
Known for his attention to every detail, Benitez will ensure that a tactical masterclass is delivered and once his staff see it in play, their opinions of him may well change.
Luis Enrique isn't in quite the same ball park when it comes to tactical nous and with the expertise to change it up at a moments notice, Benitez will boss this and as a consequence so will his team.
Benzema to silence critics
Injury has played a part in Karim Benzema's stop-start season but the Frenchman hasn't covered himself in glory by allegedly being involved in a blackmail plot.
It isn't the best preparation for one of the biggest games of the season and certainly won't have gone down well with the manager.
However, Benzema still remains a centre-forward par excellence and one who always seems to trouble Barca's back line.
This Clasico will be no different.
Coming just two days before he is due in court, Benzema will provide a performance of note to silence his critics, and give the papers something else to lead with for 48 hours at least.
Pace and power
With Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez also back from injury, Real's attack have pace and power right across the pitch.
If, as seems likely, Benitez will continue with the Welshman in the number 10 role, it leaves Cristiano Ronaldo and Rodriguez to penetrate in the wide areas.
Dani Alves in particular will struggle throughout against the Portuguese's trickery and we could even see an early bath for the Brazilian.
Both he and Jordi Alba like to bomb forward and Bale's vision and accuracy in playing the ball in behind for his colleagues to profit is likely to be one of the features of Madrid's match-winning game plan.