Two clubs experiencing differing fortunes in the UEFA Champions League, FC Barcelona and RC Deportivo La Coruña, meet at Camp Nou in Spain's match of the day on Saturday.
Barça, the Primera División leaders, scored a memorable victory against AC Milan on Tuesday while Depor's prospects in the tournament took a severe dent with defeat by Liverpool FC. The Galicians' woes have been compounded by injuries to César Martín, who has a bruised toe, and Aldo Duscher, a pulled hamstring, and both will undergo late fitness tests.
However, Barça central defender Carles Puyol knows better than to write off a wounded Depor, who sit tenth. "They are having a poor run which is something that happens in football," he said. "But they will be motivated against us as they always have been and looking for a win to give them a lift."
Six points behind Barça in second place lie Sevilla FC, who welcome an RCD Mallorca side whose new coach Héctor Cúper faces the task of lifting the islanders out of the relegation zone. Sevilla, 2-0 winners against TSV Alemannia Aachen in the UEFA Cup, have Javi Navarro and José Martí suspended, while Mallorca's Fernando Niño is also banned.
Cúper said: "Our situation is delicate but not irreversible. We must start analysing what has gone wrong - being second from bottom is not pleasant for anyone and we must rectify our position starting from this match."
Valencia CF, without a win since 26 September, could be missing midfield linchpin Rubén Baraja when Getafe CF visit the Mestalla. Baraja suffered a sprained hamstring during Tuesday's 0-0 draw at FC Internazionale Milano. Winger Vicente Rodríguez is still out with an ankle injury but Xisco Muñoz is available.
Madrid miss Samuel
Defender Walter Samuel will be rested when third-placed Real Madrid CF travel south to Málaga CF and David Beckham faces another week nursing his rib injury. Málaga are shorn of the suspended Cléver Romero. Meanwhile, Fernando Torres, who recently suffered a hairline crack to a rib, is a doubt for Club Atlético de Madrid's home game against fourth-placed Real Zaragoza.
The weekend's other matches are: Albacete Balompié v Real Betis Balompié on Saturday, and Levante UD v Athletic Club Bilbao, Real Racing Club Santander v CD Numancia, Real Sociedad de Fútbol v RCD Espanyol, and Villarreal CF v CA Osasuna on Sunday.
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