MADRID Ė The return of Brazilís Vinicius Junior who was sidelined for over two months due to injury could revive Real Madrid after it fell short against Rayo Vallecano last weekend.
Vinicius was the one who inspired hope after the then-coach Santiago Solari gave him an opportunity thanks to his freshness and playing style.
As the season started to wind down, he got injured but managed to recover for the final stretch, during which he will be able to get back into the match rhythm.
The Brazilianís first opportunity will be against Villarreal, either as a starter or as a substitute.
With Vinicius on board, Madrid will seek out redemption after the poor performance against Vallecano and no other place is better than the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, which has proved to be a fortress for Zidaneís second spell.
Zidane will still have to do without team captain Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Odriozola in the defense line and top scorer Karim Benzema, although the Frenchman has been doing his best to return to the competition before the end of the season.
The coach also has to figure out the goalkeeping situation, whether to count on Thibaut Courtois once more or to go with Keylor Navas.
Navas may seem the most likely choice but only Zidane knows his plan and he is aware one of his keepers will leave the club at the end of the season. Senior club officials see Courtois as an asset for the future.
Following the Vallecano defea, Zidane will return to safe bets in the midfield, which comprises of Casemiro, Kroos and Modric, while the attacking line formation will entirely depend on whether Vinicius makes the starting lineup.
Isco, Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale, Lucas Vazquez, Mariano and Vinicius are vying for the three attacking lineís slot.
The Welshman is most likely to start on the bench after squandering recent opportunities given to him by Zidane.
Villarreal, meanwhile, will travel to Madrid with the aim of securing a spot in the top flight league next season, something they would achieve by defeating Madrid combined with bad results by their rivals at the bottom of the table; Valladolid, Girona and Levante.
The team, led by coach Javi Calleja, has not lost a game in the past four matches, its best streak throughout the season.
Villarreal will have to do without Bruno Soriano, Miguel Llambrich and Daniele Bonera, who have been sidelined with injuries, as well as Santiago Caseres and Toko Ekambi who will serve a one-match suspension due to yellow card accumulation.