The first half of the campaign saw Los Blancos dominate the league, but after suffering their first defeat of the term to Sevilla back in January; Zidane’s side experienced a slight dip in form which allowed eternal rivals, Barcelona, to somewhat catch up to them.
Madrid subsequently hit a rich vein of form, though, while Sevilla and Atletico Madrid dropped out of the title race.
The Blaugrana travel to Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for El Clasico off the back of a 3-0 aggregate defeat against Italian giants Juventus which, perceptibly, gives Madrid an edge going into the tie.
The fact that Barcelona will be without Neymar also serves as a boost for Los Blancos.
Neymar earned himself a ban a couple of weeks ago thanks to his antics against Malaga having sarcastically applauded the referee as he walked off the pitch.
Madrid currently sits three points above Barcelona along with a game in hand.
As we all know, in a typical La Liga season, even a gap as small as three points is hard to make up due to the apparent disparity the league harbours.
The thing is, though, this is anything but a typical La Liga season. Whilst the title may be down to the traditional big two – the events that preceded the business end of the campaign were anything but normal by La Liga’s standards.
The frequency at which upsets have occurred this season serves to highlight the irregularity of this term, hence dubbing Real Madrid champions-elect should they win on Sunday would be a blatant underestimation of La Liga’s ability to throw difficult challenges at the traditional big two.
Apart from that, Real Madrid still have relatively tough fixtures against Valencia, Sevilla, Malaga and Celta Vigo to contend with after El Clasico whilst Barca’s upcoming games are against relatively weak opposition, bar the home tie against Villarreal.
At the end of the day, Barcelona appear more likely than Madrid to go on a winning streak after El Clasico which makes the derby less significant to the title race than it ought to be.
A loss away at the Spanish capital will hurt Barca’s title hopes, but it won’t completely throw Luis Enrique’s side out of the title race contrary to what many believe.