Getafe play host to Los Blancos knowing that avoiding defeat is likely to keep the club in the final qualifying spot for next season's Champions League.
Getafe would have probably been content with achieving a second successive top-10 finish in a row ahead of the start of this season, but Jose Bordalas has put the club on the brink of the biggest achievement in their history.
There is no danger of Azulones getting carried away with Real and Barcelona still to come in their remaining five matches, but the prospect of qualifying for the Champions League is one which cannot be ignored.
Getafe have not enjoyed the greatest run of results over the past six games, with a return of eight points over those fixtures only offering encouragement to each of Valencia and Sevilla.
However, Bordalas will be content that his side have maintained a narrow advantage, and it is now up to the players to rise to the occasion when attempting to secure fourth place.
Getafe still have to play three teams in the bottom half of the standings, and maximum points against Real Sociedad, Girona and Villarreal could potentially get them over the line.
Nevertheless, Real's inconsistency this season has effectively led to an increase in pressure ahead of their next outing because there is an acknowledgement that they will not have a better chance to end their dismal record against Los Blancos.
Getafe also head into Thursday's encounter having registered a resounding 3-0 triumph over Sevilla, and confidence will be taken from that result despite two of their goals coming from the spot.
Recent form: DLDWDW
That has not been enough to end speculation regarding an exit from the Bernabeu during the summer transfer window, but it has shown Zidane that his attack will be weaker without the presence of the 31-year-old.
Those goals have led to Real registering just one point fewer than Barcelona since Zidane took his place back in the dugout, and last year's European champions have the opportunity to end the season ahead of city rivals Atletico Madrid.
There is still a four-point gap separating the two clubs, but Real possess a favourable run-in and could capitalise if they can get the better of Getafe on Thursday night.
Zidane is attempting to take an opportunity to develop a couple of his less experienced players ahead of next season, and that may result in the likes of Isco and Gareth Bale not being given an extended run in the team over the coming weeks.
Both players found themselves on the substitutes' bench at the weekend at a time when they are being linked with an exit, although Bale did chip in with an assist during his 20-minute cameo in Sunday's 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.
Zidane will have short- and long-term objectives which he will want to achieve, and success on the road against the league's most-improved team would be a sign that Real can have reason to feel optimistic heading forward.
Recent form: WWLWDW
Sergio Ramos has been suffering with a hamstring injury for a couple of weeks, but the defender may be available to return to the squad this week.
However, Jesus Vallejo has impressed in recent matches, and that may lead to Zidane feeling less inclined to take a risk on the fitness of the club captain.
Getafe possible starting lineup:
Soria; Suarez, Gonzalez, Miquel, Cabrera; Shibasaki, Arambarri, Maksimovic, Mata; Molina, Duro
Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Navas; Varane, Vallejo, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Vazquez, Benzema, Asensio
Head To Head
Real have put together a 10-match winning streak against Getafe, and a total of 37 goals have come from those encounters.
Getafe's last success against Real came in August 2012 when they registered a 2-1 triumph in front of their own supporters.
We say: Getafe 1-2 Real Madrid
Both teams are aware of the importance of this fixture, and it could lead to a nervy affair. However, we feel that Real's greater big-match experience will prove to be the decisive factor.
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