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Adriano in San Mamés / PHOTO: ARXIU FCB

Fifth play sixth in Bilbao to kick off the weekend’s fixtures, whilst fourth placed Levante also
have an early kickoff at home to Racing. Real Madrid play at 20.00 in Getafe and on Sunday the
big game is the evening visit of Valencia to the Vicente Calderon.

Big game in Bilbao

Javi Marquez is back from injury for Bilbao who will again look to their talismanic striker
Fernando Llorente to help push them towards a Champions League spot. Llorente has scored
eight goals in his last six games and with Bilbao also ahead in their Cup semi final, the Basques
are enjoying a good run of form. Espanyol have also made a good start to 2012 and are
actually unbeaten in their last nine games and although they haven’t managed a win at San
Mames for ten years now, Pochettino has shown his intentions for the rest of the campaign by
signing ex-Barca man Victor Sanchez, Nigerian Kalu Uche and Phillipe Coutinho on loan from
Inter.

Getafe out to stop Madrid

Both Bilbao and Espanyol are snapping at the heels of the fading Levante, who are at home
to a resurgent Racing on Saturday before visits to Real Madrid and Espanyol themselves this
month. Getafe are also enjoying some great form at the moment, unbeaten in their last six,
and having already taken the scalp of Barça at the Alfonso Perez Coliseum this season, they will
be looking to do the same to Madrid, who welcome back Xabi Alonso after injury and Sergio
Ramos from suspension.

Atletico vs Valencia

Real Madrid’s great city rivals Atletico seem to have been transformed since the arrival of new
manager Diego Simeone at Christmas and they have yet to concede under him, winning three
of their four games and drawing the other at Malaga. On Sunday, they face their toughest
test so far when they entertain third place Valencia, who have won just one of their last eight
games in all competitions. Atletico welcome back Fran Merida from his loan spell at Braga,
whilst Valencia face another big game ahead of Wednesday’s trip to the Camp Nou.

Adios to Preciado

Sporting Gijon sacked their boss Manolo Preciado this week and his replacement Iñaki Tejado
will be able to call on their new striker Colunga, on loan from Getafe, for Sunday’s game
against Osasuna. Sporting are two points behind Villarreal, who boosted by their point against
Barça travel to Seville on Sunday, with the Andalucian team desperately needing to turn
around their six game run without a win if they are to get back into the chase for a European
spot. Meanwhile, bottom club Zaragoza have to start winning against Rayo on Sunday if they
are to dig themselves out of trouble.

Monday night’s game sees Granada at home to Malaga, with the hosts likely to include their
new Brazilian forward Henrique.

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