A make-or-break match for Real Madrid in the Champions League takes place on Wednesday when they welcome Borussia Monchengladbach to the Spanish capital for their final match in Group B.
Los Blancos currently sit third in the group after five matches, whereas Monchengladbach lead the way in a must-win clash for both managers.
In a Champions League group which comprises Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk, only a plucky few would have placed bets on the latter two being on course for spots in the last 16.
Failure to advance from the group stage would surely signal the end of Zinedine Zidane's second stint in the Bernabeu dugout, but Real's destiny is still in their own hands despite their precarious position in the group.
As long as Real Madrid triumph on their own turf, they will go through. Second-placed Shakhtar face bottom side Inter at the same time, but the result of that game may pale into insignificance depending on what happens at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
Two dampening defeats to Shakhtar - including a 2-0 loss last week - currently sees Real occupy the Europa League spot in Group B, and it is inconceivable to imagine the 13-time European champions playing in the second tier of continental football.
Los Blancos prepared for this game in optimal fashion with a 1-0 triumph over Sevilla in La Liga, although Zidane's men had to rely on a howler from Bono in the Sevilla goal to scrape a narrow victory on Saturday.
Monchengladbach are in dreamland at the top of Group B, and the Bundesliga side have earned their right to be there, but the race to make the last 16 will go right down to the wire this week.
The 16 goals that Marco Rose's men have notched up in the group stage can only be matched by Barcelona and Bayern Munich, which is no surprise given the outstanding form of Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea - the latter of whom has five goals in the tournament so far.
Monchengladbach are currently one point clear atop the rankings with Shakhtar and Real hot on their trail, and a draw in Madrid would guarantee a top-two finish and a spot in the next round, but that is much easier said than done.
Rose's men would have been confident about their chances of overcoming an out-of-sorts Freiburg side at the weekend, but Monchengladbach could only take a point from that 2-2 draw in the Bundesliga, with Plea once again on target alongside Breel Embolo.
Coincidentally, Monchengladbach's first game with Real ended 2-2 back in October, with Thuram putting the German outfit 2-0 up before a late Madrid comeback saw Karim Benzema and Casemiro both find the back of the net in the dying embers.
Real Madrid Champions League form: LDWWL
Real Madrid form (all competitions): LDWLLW
Borussia Monchengladbach Champions League form: DDWWL
Borussia Monchengladbach form (all competitions): LDWWLD
In a huge boost for Zidane, the Real manager should be able to welcome captain Sergio Ramos back from injury for this crunch match, and the veteran could slot right in at centre-back in place of Nacho Fernandez.
However, Eden Hazard remains on the treatment table alongside Dani Carvajal, with Lucas Vazquezdeputising for the latter recently, although Vazquez may now find his spot under threat from the returning Alvaro Odriozola.
Martin Odegaard could also make his return to the Blancos midfield for this six-pointer, with Marco Asensioalso pushing for a start in Zidane's front three.
As for Monchengladbach, the visitors may have to make do without two centre-backs in Nico Elvedi and Tony Jantschke again, meaning that Christoph Kramer could be forced to fill in defence once more.
Ramy Bensebaini is also yet to make his return from a positive coronavirus diagnosis, but Thuram is sure to come back into the team after being named on the bench for the draw with Freiburg.
Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Vazquez, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Odegaard; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius
Borussia Monchengladbach possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Kramer, Wendt; Zakaria, Neuhaus; Lazaro, Stindl, Thuram; Plea
Source: Sports Mole / Ben Knapton