Wales international Bale sat out Madrid's past four games, having initially struggled with an ankle injury sustained in the Copa del Rey clash against Unionistas de Salamanca on January 22.
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However, he got the nod from Zinedine Zidane to make just his 10th league start of the season and first in over a month.
Bale's return was one of eight changes to the team that was eliminated from the Copa del Rey quarter-finals by Real Sociedad on Thursday.
Sergio Ramos, Federico Valverde and Karim Benzema were the only players to hang onto their places.
Thibaut Courtois was back in goal, with Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane and Ferland Mendy joining Ramos in defense.
Luka Modric and Casemiro were brought in for Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez, while Zidane picked Bale and Isco to flank Karim Benzema in attack.