Atletico Madrid's title credentials will be tested when the table-toppers visit Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Saturday.
Diego Simeone's charges have moved to the summit after Real Madrid suffered two defeats in less than a week, following up their 4-3 Clasico loss to Barcelona with a 2-1 reverse at Sevilla.
Atletico lead Barcelona by one point, with Real now three points adrift in third.
Thanks to the form of traditional heavyweights Barca and Real, Atletico have done much of their good work this season as part of the chasing pack.
But placed firmly in the spotlight after recent results, they will face a difficult challenge at the fourth-placed Bilbao.
Saturday's hosts have also been in impressive form as they look to have all but nailed down the final UEFA Champions League spot.
Ernesto Valverde's side are six points clear of fifth-placed Sevilla and have lost just one of their last 12 league games.
They will have to stop Atleti hitman Diego Costa, though, who sits second behind only Real superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in the goalscoring charts with 24 Liga strikes to his name this term. The Spain international scored Atleti's second goal in their 2-0 triumph over Bilbao in the reverse fixture.
Real, meanwhile, need to arrest their form slump if they are to be in with any chance of winning the title, with Rayo Vallecano the visitors to the Bernabeu on Saturday.
Sergio Ramos will return from suspension for Real, who have seen Ronaldo score in seven successive fixtures in all competitions.
They will face a buoyant Rayo side though, with a five-match unbeaten run - including four wins - helping steer the Madrid club clear of the relegation zone.
Barcelona have scored 14 goals in their last three league fixtures but will have to do without goalkeeper Victor Valdes when they visit local rivals Espanyol on Saturday.
Valdes has played his last game for the club after suffering a serious knee injury in the club's 3-0 win over Celta Vigo on Wednesday. The shot-stopper is due to leave Camp Nou at the end of the season.
Captain Carles Puyol (knee) remains doubtful and Andres Iniesta (thigh) is also an injury concern for Gerardo Martino.
Also on Saturday, Sevilla head to Vigo in good spirits after their win over Real - their sixth Liga victory in a row - while Sunday's matches involve a host of relegation rivals.
Second-bottom Real Valladolid can move ahead of the 16th-placed Almeria with victory at Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla, while Getafe, who sit 18th after a nightmare run of 15 games without a win, visit Valencia.
Osasuna host Real Sociedad and Villarreal meet Elche, while on Monday, rock-bottom Real Betis play Malaga and Levante travel to Granada.
|4||A. Laporte||70' 86'|
|Coach: Ernesto Valverde|
for Susaeta 72'
for De Marcos 78'
for Mikel Rico 82'
|Partick Thistle 0 St Mirren 1: Debutant Dayton the hero|
|Rayo Vallecano 1 Deportivo La Coruna 2: Borges debut double downs hosts|
|Bournemouth 2 Watford 0: Championship leaders stroll to success|
|Dordrecht 0 Heerenveen 0: Visitors´ woes compounded by Sinkgraven sale|
|Paris Saint-Germain 1 Rennes 0: Lavezzi goal enough for champions|
|Palace confirm Souare capture|
|Barcelona v Villarreal: Xavi looking to put high-flyers in their place|
|Simeone denies gesture towards referee|
|Wolfsburg 4 Bayern Munich 1: Dost and De Bruyne at the double as hosts honour Malanda|
|Ben Arfa ineligible to play for Nice|
|Ginola calls time on FIFA presidency bid|
|Cork seals Swansea switch|
|Arsenal v Aston Villa: Wenger lauds team spirit|
|Strootman out for longer than expected|
|Southampton v Swansea City: Monk eager for return to form|
|Injury blow for Southampton striker Long|
|Montella confirms Cuadrado will join Chelsea|
|Bordeaux bring in Chantome from PSG|
|Huth suspended for two matches over tweets|
|Udinese v Juventus: Pirlo not taking Serie A lead for granted|
|Carlisle to return home|
|Prince Ali outlines campaign after submitting FIFA president bid|
|Costa must improve behaviour - Pellegrini|
|Olic seals Hamburg return|
|FIFPro planning legal action to protect unpaid players|
|Burnley rule out Liverpool move for Ings|
|Pochettino fumes at Tottenham schedule|
|Cork set for Swansea switch|
|Hull left in the cold by local gas board|
|Ancelotti: No repeat of Ronaldo indiscretion|
|Murray signs Palace extension|
|Garcia: Roma will sign a replacement for Destro|
|Sassuolo v Inter: Ranocchia hopes turning point has come|
|Congo v Democratic Republic of Congo: Neighbours clash in AFCON quarter-final|
|Fletcher in West Ham talks|
|Tunisia v Equatorial Guinea: Favourites wary of hosts|
|Carrick to miss four weeks|
|Figo submits bid for FIFA presidency|
|Costa hit with three-match ban|
|Villa confirm Sinclair loan|
|Hull agree fee for N´Doye|
|Milan clubs should merge, says agent Raiola|
|Redknapp brands Fer speculation ´absolute rubbish´|
|Destro completes Milan move|
|Iraq 2 UAE 3: Khalil´s brace sees off Iraqis|
|Ward-Prowse signs Southampton deal|
|Mandanda: Marseille will turn it around|
|Fuchs backs Schalke goalkeeper Giefer to shine|
|Wenger unlikely to risk Sanchez, could start Gabriel|
|Newcastle would need ´ridiculous´ bid to sell Sissoko|
|Kramer sure of sustained Champions League challenge|
|Sturridge would have steered Liverpool to Wembley - Rodgers|
|South Korea claim underdog status|
|We can handle the pressure, says Postecoglou|
|Cheyrou joins Toronto|
|AFC boss rejects Australia expulsion claims|
|Australia v South Korea: Socceroos eyeing maiden Asian Cup|
|Wolfsburg plan Malanda tribute|
|Blanc: Ibrahimovic, Cavani need to improve partnership|
|NBA´s Kings invest in Sacramento Republic|
|Djukic slams Ronaldo as ´ugly and conceited´|
|Marcelino hails Villarreal´s historic achievement|
|Destro: I want to show Milan are great|
|Copa del Rey Review: Aduriz breaks drought to send Bilbao through|
|Blaszczykowski to miss Leverkusen clash|
|Villarreal swoop for Bailly|
|CAF to consider alternatives to drawing lots|
|Ginola ´not giving up´ on FIFA presidency bid|
|Eto´o backs Sampdoria´s European dream|
|Chelsea v Manchester City: Costa out and Fabregas doubtful for title showdown|
|Sunderland v Burnley: Poyet calls for change in mentality|
|Serie A Preview: Crisis clubs meet as Parma head to Milan|
|West Brom v Tottenham: Pulis excited by McManaman arrival|
|Ginola campaign cancels crowdfunding page|
|Stoke City v QPR: Hughes hopeful of Diouf boost|
|Manchester United v Leicester City: Pearson has no time for fond memories|
|Thai consortium completes Wednesday purchase|
|Wigan exodus continues as Ramos joins Levante|
|Crystal Palace v Everton: Martinez hoping to reap Qatar training rewards|
|Liverpool v West Ham: Allardyce backs Carroll to shine on Anfield return|
|Strootman injury ´nothing serious´|
|Pearson backs Kramaric to adapt quickly|
|Hull City v Newcastle United: Carver calls for repeat KC Stadium rout|
|Rodgers not expecting immediate Sturridge impact|
|Palace land free agent Ameobi|
|Guinea progress past Mali in drawing of lots|
|Strootman requires surgery|
|Mathieu reveals details of Luis Enrique-Messi bust-up|
|New Inter signing Brozovic wants to be the next Frank Lampard|
|Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Dortmund: Visitors aim for fresh start|
|Eibar v Atletico Madrid: Capa up for a fight|
|Whelan and Crouch sign new Stoke deals|
|Mutch joins Palace from QPR|
|Eriksen delighted by League Cup double|
|Real Madrid v Real Sociedad: Moyes´ men out for rare Real double|
|Nolan impressed by Carroll attitude|
|Wenger: Gabriel will adapt to English football|
|Destro says yes to Milan move|
|Allardyce not expecting Sakho ban|
|Ribery sidelined for three Bayern Munich matches|
|Cahill refuses to rule out retirement after Asian Cup final|
|Pogba to leave Juve by end of next season - Agent|
|Martinez not planning Eto´o replacement|
|Blatter formally submits bid to remain FIFA president|
|Puncheon predicts ´great times´ for Palace|
|Donadoni has no plans to leave Parma and criticises Cassano|
|Mangala: My first season at City could have been better|
|UAE v Iraq: Rare podium finish on offer|
|Ryan spurred on by Australia´s 2011 heartbreak|
|Montella will not sell Cuadrado cheap|
|Mali, Guinea furious with tie-breaking procedure|
|Luis Enrique defends Neymar´s behaviour|
|Gabi: Referee lacked personality|
|Chile 3 USA 2: Gonzalez´s brace extends Americans´ pain|
|Franjic cleared of serious injury|
|Our progression was deserved - Pochettino|