Madrid:The race for the La Liga title and to qualify for Europe, as well as the struggle to avoid relegation, go head-to-head in some of the key games in Spain this weekend.
League leaders FC Barcelona travel to Getafe on Sunday afternoon after being held 0-0 at home to Girona on Monday. Barca were clearly handicapped by the absence of Pedri, Ousmane Dembele, Frenkie de Jong, and Andreas Christensen in that game, and none of the quartet are likely to be in condition to start in the south of Madrid.
Getafe disappointed in San Sebastian last weekend, but their 2-0 defeat in the Reale Arena was their only defeat in the last five matches, and any side with Enes Unal, Borja Mayoral, and former Barca striker Munir in attack has to be taken very seriously.
Real Madrid travel to Cadiz on Saturday, and with his side 13 points behind Barca, Carlo Ancelotti is likely to use the match to continue giving minutes to his squad, while resting players like Karim Benzema for the Champions League.
That could give Cadiz, who go into the game after an impressive win away to Betis, the chance to dig in for another point in their battle to stay up.
Almeria claimed three vital points last weekend with a 2-1 win at home to Valencia, but they have a difficult game on Sunday when they visit third-place Atletico Madrid.
Atletico’s win away to Rayo Vallecano last weekend means Diego Simeone’s side have won nine of their last 11 league matches, and they have moved to within just two points of Real Madrid.
With Antoine Griezmann still in excellent form, Atletico will fancy their chances of overtaking their neighbors, especially if Real Madrid retain their interest in the Champions League.
Rayo have the chance to return to form when they entertain Osasuna on Friday night, with the visitors without Darko Brasanac, who has damaged his knee ligaments, and doubts over the fitness of Chimy Avila.
Samuel Chukwueze was outstanding in Villarreal’s 3-2 win away to Real Madrid last weekend, and his side have a very winnable home game against Valladolid, who could slip into the bottom three if they lose in the Estadio de la Ceramica.
Luis Garcia’s debut as Espanyol coach ended in a 2-1 defeat at home to Athletic Club Bilbao, and his side has to improve drastically when they visit fifth-place Betis, although Betis have lost their last two games and are without the injured Nabil Fekir and the suspended Aitor Ruibal and Sergio Canales.
The Basque derby between Athletic Club Bilbao and Real Sociedad in San Mames promises to be tense, with Athletic needing a win to keep pressure on the top six and Real Sociedad to ensure they remain in the top four.
Rock bottom Elche visit Girona with Sebastian Beccacece still looking for his first point after being named the club’s fourth coach of the season, and Sunday’s last match promises tension in Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium in a relegation duel between two big clubs in danger.
Valencia’s defeat to Almeria saw them drop back into the bottom three, and coach Ruben Baraja also has injuries to deal with, as Nico Gonzalez, Justin Kluivert, and Thierry Correia are all missing out.
Sevilla have improved in defense since the arrival of Jose Luis Mendilibar but will be without the suspended duo of Marcos Acuna and Pape Gueye for the vital match.