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, what it takes, Benitez will know exactly what is required of him and how to implement it, come kick-off time on Saturday evening.
Already certain sections of the media are lining up to bash him because his Madrid side are not quite the swashbucklers that fans of Los Blancos would want to see.
Barcelona are looking really good and even did not look beyond their shoulders in search of their talisman, Messi in his absence. However, Real playing at home and their hunger to step out of the shadows of their rivals coupled with the fact that 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 come close of Saturday.
Rafa Benitez knows his employers won’t entertain anything less than the three points. And as such he won’t come to the field to make friends; he will come to get results. Plain and simple!
It would appear that even some of his own playing staff are not being friendly with rumours that they will move from his unfavourable tactics to their usual los blancos style.
Benitez is known for paying attention to detail, and as such will ensure that a tactical plot is delivered and once his staff see it in play, their opinions of him may well change.
Luis Enrique is not in the same ball game as to tactical know-how at least, Benitez is ahead and might want to boss his way over the Barca manager.
BENZEMA TO SILENCE CRITICS
Injury is not the only enemy to the French man this season, Karim Benzema has another enemy in an alleged blackmail plot.
It is certainly not the best preparation for one of the biggest games of the season and surely 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 and this Clasico will be no different especially coming just two days before he is due in court. Benzema will provide a performance of note to silence his critics, and give the Spanish media something else to talk about.
PACE AND POWER
With Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez also back from injury, Real's attack have pace and power right across the pitch, something Barca does not have in the MNS; Messi provided he is fit to play, Neymar and Suarez.
Benitez might ask Bale to utilize Cristiano Ronaldo and Rodriguez on the wide areas, making them penetrate deeper; even going beyond Dani Alves and Jordi Alba. They like to run forward and Bale's vision and accuracy in playing the ball in behind for his colleagues, James, Ronaldo and Benzema to profit from it could be the bane of Barcelona.
One of Soccer’s fiercest rivalry beckons us.