Football

La Liga preview: 5th-8th April

Barca must cope this weekend without magical Messi (©GettyImages)
Barca must cope this weekend without magical Messi (©GettyImages).

Week 30 of this season's La Liga sees Champions League contenders Barcelona, Real Madrid and Malaga all return to domestic action, with Barca aiming to reclaim the Primera Divison title they lost last season.

The Catalan club will be looking to maintain their 13-point lead at the top of the table against struggling Mallorca, but will have to do so without main man Lionel Messi, as the Argentine picked up a hamstring injury in the 2-2 draw with Paris Saint-Germain in midweek.

Barca will also be without Javier Mascherano, after he too picked up an injury against PSG, and so manager Tito Vilanova may have to consider a change in formation.

Madrid will welcome Levante to the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday and will look to continue their fine form after comfortably seeing off Galatasaray in their 3-0 midweek victory.

But, with Barcelona so far clear in the race for the title, Mourinho’s men look to only be playing for second place and will look to continue to hold off third-placed Atletico Madrid, who are only a point behind.

Atletico face a tough trip to rivals Getafe on Sunday but will be confident having not lost to the Azulones in three previous meetings this season, beating them twice.

Another notable game this weekend will see the battle for the final Champions League place heat up, as fourth-place Real Sociedad host fifth-place Malaga with only a point separating the two sides.

Elsewhere, bottom side Deportivo La Coruna will look to boost their survival hopes and record a third successive victory when they play fellow strugglers Real Zaragoza in a ‘relegation six-pointer’.

Third-bottom Celta Vigo take on Rayo Vallecano, Valencia face Real Valladolid and Osasuna meet Espanyol.

The 30th round starts on Friday night, when Granada host Real Betis while on Monday, Sevilla take on Athletic Bilbao.

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