Having nearly relieved Barcelona of its Spanish league crown, Jose Mourinho's task of guiding Real Madrid to the Champions League final is on the line on Wednesday when only victory over Bayern Munich will suffice.
Madrid is staring down a 2-1 first-leg deficit ahead of the semifinal return at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
The record nine-time European champion's record when opening with such an away result is encouraging as it has rallied to win in five of seven past series.
But Bayern has dominated the two-legged series between them, winning three of four overall.
Madrid just about locked up the Spanish title with Saturday's 2-1 win at Barcelona, but Mourinho is expected to deliver its first European Cup since 2002.