Madrid, Feb 6 (IANS) FC Barcelona and Real Madrid both play away from home on Sunday in the La Liga as the race for the Spanish football title hots up.
Depending on Atletico Madrid’s result on Saturday evening at home to Eibar, Barcelona could find themselves needing at least a point from their midday kick off away to bottom of the table Levante in order to go back to the top of the table, reports Xinhua.
Wednesday’s incredible 7-0 win at home over Valencia in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final all but assured their second Cup final appearance in two years and means coach Luis Enrique, who is celebrating his 100th game in charge, will be able to field a weakened side in next week’s return leg, as such he will have all of his artillery out in the Ciudad de Valencia Stadium.
It has been a complicated week for Barcelona off the pitch with Neymar in court on fraud charges and rumours of a massive bid from Manchester United, while Friday saw the club and former president Sandro Rosell charged with industrial espionage. However off-field matters have not affected the Catalan giants on the pitch and Luis Enrique will be looking for Neymar, Messi and Suarez to once again work their on-field magic, while Dani Alves and Javier Mascherano return to the starting 11.
Levante have just 17 points from 22 games and will look to former Italian international Guiseppe Rossi to provide some firepower as they look to avoid relegation.
Real Madrid travel to Granada with everyone singing the praises of Zinedine Zidane after his side has scored 16 goals in their last three home games, but second from bottom Granada will put up much stiffer resistance than Espanyol did last week in the Santiago Bernabeu and perhaps a better reference will be their 1-1 draw at home to Betis three weeks ago.
Gareth Bale is still recovering from his torn calf muscle, while Pepe is sidelined with a foot injury but Cristian Ronaldo will be looking to celebrate his 31st birthday with a goal in a game Real Madrid have to win if they are not to drop further points in the title race.