La Liga line ups: Espanyol – Real Madrid

Raphael Varane returns to the Real Madrid starting XI as they take on Espanyol at the RCDE Stadium. 

Gareth Bale has returned to the matchday squad following an injury, however he is only fit for a place on the substitutes bench.

A win for Santiago Solari's side would see them retake third spot in La Liga, following Sevilla's 5-0 win over Levante yesterday, and extend their La Liga winning run to three games.

He recalls Toni Kroos and Segio Reguilon, alongside Varane, replacing Nacho Fernandez, Dani Ceballos and Marcelo from the side that beat Girona in the Copa del Rey.

Espanyol, who drew 1-1 with Real Betis in the Copa del Rey on Thursday night, have won just one of their last seven games.

Manager Joan Francesc Ferrer makes four changes to that side, with Diego Lopez, Javi Lopez, Alex Lopez and Sergio Garcia all starting.

ESPANYOL: Diego Lopez, Javi Lopez, Lluis Lopez, Hermoso, Didac Vila, Alex Lopez, Sergi Darder, Marc Roca, Garcia, Iglesias, Baptistao

SUBS: Roberto, Sanchez, Rosales, Jiminez, Piatti, Granero, Bonilla

REAL MADRID: Courtois, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Reguilon, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Vazquez, Benzema, Vinicius

SUBS: Zidane, Fernandez, Bale, Marcelo, Llorente, Isco, Ceballos