'BBC' leads Real into Madrid derby

Madrid, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Real Madrid is heading to the Vicente Calderon at just right time.

Atletico Madrid will host Real on Sunday for the latest installment of the Madrid derby, and the Galacticos are flying high ahead of the crucial tilt.

Carlo Ancelotti's men cruised to a comfortable 6-1 victory at Schalke in Champions League play on Wednesday as Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals apiece.

It was the first time in seven matches that the trio - referred to as the 'BBC' by the Spanish media - started together, and it will be difficult for Ancelotti to tinker with the side ahead of such a vital league fixture.

"The three scored, they were very good in attack, but they also had the help of their teammates," Ancelotti told Canal Plus after the match. "The three are very dangerous. Benzema played very well, not only for the goals but he also helped the side in possession of the ball and in setting up goals.

"Ronaldo does not surprise me. I knew he was very motivated for this game. He played well. It could be Bale's best game of the season yet. He had more confidence and he attacked very well from deep."

Real Madrid enters the weekend atop La Liga after both Barcelona and Atletico suffered defeats in the last round. A win for the Galacticos at the Calderon would bring them six points clear before the Catalans welcome Almeria to Camp Nou later on Sunday.

Real Sociedad, the club that dismantled Barcelona last time out, is closing in on a top-four finish. La Real is seven points back of Athletic Bilbao following its 4-0 demolition of Granada on Friday, and it will look to make up ground at Sevilla on Sunday when it goes for its third straight league win.

Also on Sunday, Valencia will look to extend its La Liga unbeaten run to seven games when it heads to the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas to take on lowly Rayo Vallecano while last-place Real Betis heads to El Madrigal to square off against Villarreal.

Malaga's run of just four wins in its last 19 La Liga matches has seen the club slip into the relegation conversation. It enters the weekend just three points above the drop, and win for Valladolid at La Rosaleda on Saturday would bring the two sides level on 25 points apiece.

Elsewhere in the Spanish top flight on Saturday, Levante will attempt to go unbeaten in eight league matches with a positive result against Osasuna, Getafe will go for its first league win of the calendar year when it welcomes Espanyol to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez and Celta Vigo heads to the Martinez Valero to take on an Elche side that is looking to pull further away from the relegation zone.