It's fair to say that 2015 hasn't been kind to Real Madrid. Los Blancos have drifted from one disaster to another and for a club that is one of, if not the biggest and best around, that's just not good enough.
The fact most of their bad luck has been their own making has compounded the issue.
Fortunately, the Champions League gives Real some respite and, already qualified as group winners, we can expect to see a performance that is free from the pressures that has surrounded the club and its players in recent weeks.
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Malmo are still in with a shout of European football, qualification to the Europa League their best hope. They too should play an expansive brand of football and as such, this could well be a game for the neutral to enjoy.
Let's take a look at three things that could shape the outcome to this one...
Madrid's defensive woes
Rafa Benitez has built his teams on a solid defence and that platform requires the best exponents being available to him at all times.
Sergio Ramos is out until the New Year with a shoulder problem and probably should never have played against Barcelona. Clearly in pain, Real's best defender looked second-best all night.
Marcelo's employment for this fixture also remains in doubt as the Brazilian continues to recover from a thigh concern, the same injury that has sidelined his opposite full-back Dani Carvajal.
With three of the usual four missing, a makeshift back four could benefit the Swedes.
Age Hareide should think about tweaking his line up to reflect a more attacking 4-3-3 rather than a static 4-4-2.
Surely the 5-0 hammering at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain and a returning Zlatan Ibrahimovic was enough of a lesson that Malmo need to get on their bikes and have the confidence to take the game to their opponents.
Statuesque, old school formations do nothing in the modern era and Real have more than enough about them to make inroads through the lines and passing lanes, should the manager decide to play it safe.
Sometimes risk equals reward and this is one of those occasions.
After the wonderful result at the weekend against Getafe, Benitez and his charges need to continue the good news.
Although the manager can afford to rest any number of players, anything other than another big win will be a disaster.
Why? Because Real demand the best. Rightly so. And for a few weeks now Los Blancos have been anything but.
As we edge towards the Christmas break, Madrid's demanding fans will want something to hang onto over the holidays - genuine belief that their team are on an upward trajectory.
Do you think Malmo could get a positive result out of the game? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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