A full match preview of Sunday's La Liga clash between top of the table Real Madrid and second from bottom Real Murcia: includes team news, squads and form guide....
Marca have been running a poll this week that suggests that Real Madrid fans would rather plod along as they have been in recent weeks, rather than surge ahead with a big lead at the top of the table and win the title early, provided it gave them an opportunity to secure the trophy against Barcelona when they play each other in a month's time.
You can be certain, however, that Bernd Schuster will allow no such an idea to influence his side's approach to their remaining games. The Real Madrid coach will be more aware than anyone that Madrid's inconsistent recent form does not permit them the luxury of assuming that the title is theirs just yet: it is only the inability of their rivals to take advantage of Madrid's recent slip ups that means Schuster's side maintains a seven point lead at the top of the table.
Real Madrid host second from bottom Murcia on Sunday at the Bernabeu, and Schuster has clearly drilled in to his players the importance of getting the matter of where the league title will end up resolved as soon as possible: starting with a win on Sunday.
Fernando Gago echoed his coach's instructions. The player said: " We're only thinking about winning the league, and the sooner the better. Personally I want to win it as soon as possible, I am not thinking of how, or when or against who, but of just doing it because it is very important for us to win the title."
"Just as Murcia will be doing, we will fight for all three points and we will go out to score goals. We are only thinking about having a good game against Murcia and picking up the points which is our obligation, we are not thinking of anything outside of that," said the Argentine.
There may be a huge gap separating the two sides - 37 points and 19 places - but Madrid have lost two of their last five home games and Murcia go in to Sunday's game in reasonable form: they have won two of their last three games after defeating Espanyol and Valencia and are showing signs of recovery under new coach Javier Clemente.
The former Spanish national coach has been doing his best to stoke up the atmosphere ahead of the game, saying: "Every time I go the Bernabeu, they call me an ETA terrorist"
"Of all the grounds in Spain, the place where I have been treated the worst is in the Santiago Bernabeu, but I suppose that the actions of 20 or 30 poorly-educated people doesn't determine the mentality of the whole stadium," added the ever diplomatic Basque.
MARCA is doing it's bit to wind up the jolly German Bernd Schuster, by putting a picture of rent-a-quote Clemente on Saturday's front page stating "It's easy to manage a big club". The paper asks "Will Schuster give us a response today?"
In terms of tactics, Clemente had this to say: "We can't go to Madrid looking to attack them from the first minute, although I'm sure the Madrid fans would love that."
"We'll try and surprise them playing in our own style, putting the bus, the train or the AVE in front of goal: whatever it takes," added the Murcia coach.
Real Madrid's Gabi Heinze is aware that his side will have to overcome a team looking to make it difficult for Madrid to break down, and said: "If they come here and 'park the bus', we will just have to open it up."
With that aim in mind, it is rumoured that Schuster is prepared to welcome Robinho back in to the fold, in order to utilise the Brazilian's ability to unlock the most resilient of defensive walls - or buses.
A return for Robinho?
It had been reported in the Madrid press that Robinho was close to the Bernabeu exit after repeatedly clashing with his coach. Real Madrid's most creative player has played just three minutes in the last two matches after, it has been claimed, failing to obey Schuster's orders in the defeat to Valencia a fortnight ago.
Of course, Robinho's long term future at the club may still be in doubt, but if he does return on Sunday it is likely to be at the expense of Gonzalo Higuain.
Clemente will be without leading goal scorer Ivan Alonso, and Alvaro Mejia through suspension. Pablo Garcia may be forced to miss the match due to a clause n his contract that would force Murcia to pay 600,000 euros to Real Madrid, his former club, should he turn out against them. Madrid exercise a similar clause against Ruben de la Red and Esteban Granero earlier in the season - and La Liga Review argued back then that we felt it is anti- competitive and against the spirit of fair play. We still do - what do you think?
Real Madrid will again be without injured duo Ruud van Nistelrooy ( who is up and running) and Christoph Metzelder, plus the suspended Sergio Ramos. Dudek has recovered from his injuries / flu and at the moment there are no other injuries to report.
Squads to follow.....
Real Madrid W4 D1 L5 (Home W13 D1 L2 ) / Real Murcia W2 D1 L7 (Away W1 D5 L10)