MADRID: Gareth Bale and Real Madrid may each have enjoyed a recent revival but their challenge now is to maintain momentum ahead of next week's crunch Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain.
Real travel to Espanyol in La Liga on Tuesday, looking to reduce the gap behind leaders Barcelona, who visit Las Palmas two days later. Second-placed Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, host Leganes on Wednesday.
But, with Barca 14 points clear of Los Blancos and all-but uncatchable at the top, the priority for Zinedine Zidane's side is to keep the winning feeling after five victories on the bounce.
Particularly eager will be Bale, who has endured an injury-hit season, but delivered a statement performance, and a goal, in Saturday's 4-0 thrashing of Alaves.
With next week's crunch Champions League second leg against PSG looming, the Welshman will be looking to reassert his part in the three-pronged threat with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, Real's traditional 'BBC'.
Bale's place is not secure. He was left out of the starting line-up against Leganes last week, while Zidane's preference of Isco in the first leg against PSG was vindicated, as his team ran out 3-1 winners.
The talented Marco Asensio also made a decisive contribution off the bench.
But, at his best, Bale remains a formidable force and Espanyol may well find an opponent this week keen to prove a point.
"Every day it is much better, it is what we want, we want to see a 100 percent Gareth," Zidane said on Monday.
"The other day he played a great game, scored a goal. The most important thing is his participation in the game and he has done very well."