La Liga Review looks ahead to all of this weekend's Spanish football action: with match previews, team news, form guides and squads...
Saturday 19 April 2008 (Spanish Time)
20:00 At. Madrid 1 - Betis 3 FT
20:00 Zaragoza 3 - Recreativo 0 FT
20:00 Barcelona 0 - Espanyol 0 FT
22:00 Sevilla 1 - Almería 4 FT
Sunday 20 April
17:00 Villarreal - Valladolid
17:00 Levante - Getafe
17:00 Osasuna - Deportivo
17:00 Murcia - Mallorca
19:00 Racing - R. Madrid
21:00 Athletic - Valencia
FC Barcelona - Espanyol
A passionate local derby featuring two sides desperately looking for form and confidence. (Full Preview Click Here)
Sevilla - Almeria
Two Andlalucian sides in a battle for European qualification. (Full Preview Click Here)
Atletico Madrid - Real Betis
Fourth placed Atletico Madrid have Champions League ambitions firmly fixed in their minds ahead of the visit of Real Betis on Saturday.
Javier Aguirre's sode did themselves no favours last weekend, registering a frustrating 1-1 draw with lowly Valladolid, and permitted chasing Sevilla and Racing Santander to edge closer in the battle for the fial Chamopins league placing.
With six games left, Atletico are just one point ahead of Marcelino's Racing Santander, who are at home to Real Madrid on Sunday, and three points above Sevilla who host Almeria in the Sanchez Pizjuan on Saturday.
Villarreal are five points ahead of them in third, and Barcelona six in second.
A 1-1 draw, a 6-3 win, and a 3-0 defeat from their last three matches shows just how erratic Atletico can be, but at least at home they have some consistency: 10 wins from 16 games played at the Vicente Calderon. In fact, only Real Madrid have scored more goals than Atletico at home this season.
The problem for Atleti is that they also concede far too many goal: 23 at home this season, the third worst record in La Liga.
The visitors Betis, are 13th in the table with 41 points, just seven points above the relegation places: needing at least another three or four points to be certain of safety. Their recent form, however, closely mirrors that of Atletico's.
Atletico were 2-0 winners the last time these two sides met in La Liga
Form Guide: Atletico Madrid W5 D1 L4 (Home W10 D2 L4) / Real Betis W5 D1 L4 (Away W4 D1 L7)
Coach Javier Aguirre has almost a full Atletico squad to choose from. José Manuel Jurado, Miguel Ángel Ferrer, 'Mista', Juan Valera, el portugués Zé Castro and Ismael Falcón have all been left out for technical reasons, while Seitaridis returns.
Sobis should start for Betis with first-choice forwards Mark Gonzalez and Edu injured and Mariano Pavone suspended. Ricard has not made the trip after just becoming a father.
Atletico Squad :Leo Franco & Christian Abbiati; Giorgios Seitaridis, Pablo Ibáñez, Luis Perea, Fabiano Eller, Antonio López & Mariano Pernía; Maxi Rodríguez, Luis García, Raúl García, Cléber Santana, Ignacio Camacho, Simao Sabrosa, Miguel de las Cuevas & José Antonio Reyes; 'Kun' Agüero & Diego Forlán
Betis Squad: Casto, Doblas, Juanito, Fernando, Capi, Xisco, José Mari, Melli, Ilic, Odonkor, Damiá, Nano, Lima, Sobis, Fernando Vega, Arzu, Babic & Juande.
Zaragoza - Recreativo Huelva
Put simply: Zaragoza are in trouble and must win this game on Saturday. They are 3 points away from safety, and with visitors Recreativo occupying the league place above them - they cannot afford to lose. (Click here to find out why at least half La Liga will be hoping that they do)
Recreativo were 2-1 winners the last time these two sides met in La Liga
Form Guide: Zaragoza W1 D2 L7 (Home W7 D6 L3) Recreativo W4 D3 L3 (Away W4 D4 L8)
Zaragoza will be without top goal scorer, Diego Milito, who picked up an ankle injury in training yesterday.
Zaragoza Squad: César & Miguel, Diogo, Paredes, Óscar, Ayala, Luccin, Aimar, Sergio García, Juanfran, Oliveira, Gabi, Pavón, Celades, Matuzalem, Zapater, Sergio Fernández, Chus Herrero, Vicente Pascual.
Recreativo Squad: Sorrentino, Barbosa, Edu Moya, Dani Bautista, Iago Bouzón, Gerard, Camuñas, Ersen Martin, Jesús Vázquez, Carlos Martins, Sinama Pongolle, Barber, Marco Ruben, Varela, Aitor, Beto, Javi Guerrero y Pablo Oliveira.
Racing Santander - Real Madrid
Schuster's side look to extend their lead to 11 points at the top of the table following Barcelona's draw with Espanyol, while Racing continue to dream of Europe in their best season ever. (Click for Full review)
Villarreal - Valladolid
Villarreal have a chance to move up in to second place in La Liga with a win over Valladolid on Sunday evening. The home side have missed several opportunities to make second place their own, and even mount a title challenge, after suffering consecutive defeats against Almeria and Sevilla in recent weeks. However, Barcelona, their closest rivals for second, have also been stuttering and Saturday's draw with Espanyol means that Villarreal sit just two paces behind them in, in third, with a game in hand.
Valladolid will be anxiously looking over their shoulders for the remainder of the season. Zaragoza's win over Recreativo on Saturday means that the bottom of La Liga has become very congested, and with just two points between them and the drop zone, Valladolid cannot afford any slip ups.
The visitors can, at least, take something from their recent from: beating fellow relegation candidates Levante and Zaragoza, as well as snatching a hard fought point at fourth placed Atletico Madrid in recent weeks.
Valladolid: Jose Antonio Garcia Calvo is suspended and Inaki Bea is a doubt, but Joseba Llorente and Alvaro Rubio should recover from minor injuries in time for the Sunday's match.
Villarreal will be without the injured Fabricio Fuentes, but Diego Godin and Joan Capdevila are available after suspension. However, Diego Lopez serves a ban following his red card against Almeria last weekend and Sebastian Viera looks set to step in.
Villarreal W6 D2 L2 (Home W9 D5 L2) / Valladolid W3 D3 L4 (Away W5 D1 L9)
Athletic Bilbao - Valencia
Winning the Copa Del Rey for Valencia will not have been enough to guarantee Ronald Koeman a long term future at Valencia and he is still fighting for his job when his side travel to Bilbao on Sunday evening.
Three successive defeats have left Valencia in 15th place in La Liga, just five points above the relegation zone. In contrast, Bilbao go in to the match in fairly decent form, having won four and drawn two of their six matches prior to last weekend's 3-0 defeat at Deportivo La Coruña. The home side are reasonably secure in mid table with 43 points, although two more points may be needed to guarantee safety, with six games remaining.
Athletic were 3-0 winners the last time these two sides met earlier in the season.
Athletic Bilbao W5 D2 L3 (Home W6 D7 L3) / Valencia W2 D3 L5 (Away W7 D3 L6)
Valencia are sweating over the fitness of Timo Hildebrand, Emiliano Moretti, Hedwiges Maduro and Vicente for Sunday's match, but David Silva is definitely out through suspension.
Athletic Bilbao are without Pablo Orbaiz, Asier Del Horno, Inaki Munoz and Gorka Iraizoz through injury.
Osasuna - Deportivo
With six wins in seven home matches, Osasuna's home ground, the Reyno de Navarra, was something of a fortress up until their last two matches there when they were defeated by relegation rivals Real Betis and Recreativo Huelva each recording 1-0 victories.
In spite of those two defeats, Jose Angel Ziganda's side should still be safe after picking up five wins and two draws in their last 10 games. Last weekend they snatched a 1-0 victory at Espanyol to climb up to 14th spot on 40 points, six above the relegation zone and three behind ninth-placed Depor.
However, their visitor's recent form has been astonishing: recording six wins and a draw in their last eight games - including wins over Real Madrid, Sevilla, Racing Santander and Espanyol, while last weekend Deportivo ended Athletic Bilbao's six-match unbeaten run with a 3-0 hammering
Osasuna were 2-1 winners the last time these two sides met earlier in the season
Osasuna W5 D2 L3 (Home W7 D4 L5) Deportivo W6 D2 L2 (Away W5 D4 L7)
Osasuna are missing Xavier Margairaz, Ludovic Delporte and Nacho Monreal.
Deportivo will be without Juan Carlos Valeron through injury, while Manuel Pablo is suspended.
Ivan Alonso, Alvaro Mejia and Abel Gomez should all return for Real Murcia. Striker Alonso and centre-back Mejia missed last weekend's defeat at Real Madrid through suspension, while midfielder Gomez was rested.
Murcia - Mallorca
Second from bottom Murcia, eight points from safety, host a Mallorca side, on 41 points, yet to guarantee Primera Liga safety.
Javier Clemente's Murcia have lost four of their six matches since he took over as coach took over last month, but they have won their last two home games. The visitors, Mallorca lost their match last weekend in thrilling 3-2 encounter at home to Sevilla. Mallorca have lost just one of their last five league games away from home, winning their last away trip with a convincing 3-0 rout at Valencia.
The two sides drew 1-1 when they met earlier in the season.
Murcia W2 DO L8 ( Home W6 D3 L6) Mallorca W3 D5 L2 (Away W3 D8 L5)
Henok Goitom and Cesar Arzo are suspended for Murcia, while Pablo Garcia misses out through injury.
Mallorca have no major injury worries or suspensions for Sunday's game.
Levante - Getafe
It will be interesting to see how Getafe respond to suffering two devastating cup defeats in a week against a side that is as good as relegated and in turmoil away from the field.
Michael Laudrup's side probably need just one more win to secure Primera Liga safety: they sit in 12th place in La Liga, seven points clear of the drop zone with six games remaining, including Sunday's trip to Levante. The Danish coach, linked with the manager's roles at both Barcelona and Chelsea, will need all of his motivational skills as he seeks to lift a small squad that seems to have hit the wall in recent weeks: Getafe are without a win in eight matches in all competitions.
Bottom of La Liga Levante have endured a troublesome week with the departure of coach Giovanni De Biasi on Wednesday. Jose Angel Moreno has been promoted from within the club to take control for the remaining six games of the season. On Thursday the squad announced they would go on strike and refuse to play next week's match away to Recreativo Huelva if the were not paid the money that they claim the club has owed them since last season. 15 points from safety, it is a question of when, rather than if, Levante are relegated.
Getafe were 2-1 winners the last time these two sides met earlier in the season
Levante W3 D0 L7 (Home W4 D3 L9) / Getafe W3 D5 L2 (Away W5 D3 L8)
Getafe should be able to call upon Pablo Hernandez following his injury, but defender Alvaro and Nigeria striker Ikechukwu Uche are both doubtful. Cosmin Contra returns from suspension, after missing the goalless draw at home to Real Zaragoza last week.