Javi Martinez (Athletic Club). Spanish League Preview.

Barça could finish their game against Zaragoza level with Real Madrid if they take the three points, with Mourinho's team kicking off at ten at night. If Valencia win, they will be just a point behind Madrid, whilst fourth place Levante need a win at Atlético Madrid to keep in touch with the top three.

Karanka: "we won't get six this time"

Real Madrid's 3-6 win at Mestalla last season was a very much a one off according to Madrid's assistant manager Aitor Karanka, who in Friday's pre-match press conference declared: "last season's result wasn't normal for a game between two big teams. It'll be totally different this time round and we won't get six, I'm sure. Valencia are behind us, but will get to within a point if they win. This is going to be a very tough game to win, but if we can, they will be very valuable points." Madrid go into the game without the injured Ricardo Carvalho, Kaka, Di Maria and Coentrao, whilst Marcelino is back and Nuri Sahin is again in the squad.

Moving up..... and down

Villarreal and Betis look to be heading in opposite directions, with the Andalucian team taking just one point from their last seven games, following their four opening wins and Villarreal unbeaten in their last two, after a disastrous start to the campaign. Saturday's game starts the weekend and could well make the difference between a long hard winter or a turn in fortunes.

Levante at Vicente Calderon

Levante are fourth, a point behind Valencia, and the international break will have come as a welcome relief for them after losing their last two games. On Sunday they visit Atlético Madrid, who are ten points behind them and suffering a frustratingly inconsistent season, culminating in their 3-2 defeat against Getafe in their last game and need a result ahead of next week's derby at the Bernabeu.

Bilbao out to break losing run in Seville

Seville lead the pack behind the top four, five points adrift of Levante, but they face a tough game on Sunday when Bilbao, four points below them on 14, visit the Sanchez Pijuan. Seville have won just one of their last five league games, whilst Bilbao seem to have found their feet and having drawn against Valencia and Barça, they are unbeaten in their last five. The Basques haven't won at the Sanchez Pijuan in 18 years, but their talismanic goal scorer Fernanado Llorente reckons: "it's certainly been a long time since we won there, but if we can reproduce the form we were in before the break, we can get a result this time".

Malaga (17 points) and Espanyol (16) are sandwiched between Seville and Bilbao and they both face struggling teams this weekend, with Pellegrini's side at Racing on Monday night and Pochettino taking his players to Donosti for the Sunday lunchtime game. There are two potential six pointers at Granada, where Mallorca visit, and Sporting – who play Getafe, whilst Rayo (15 points) and Osasuna (14) meet in Pamplona with both teams determined to hang on to their mid-table comfort zone.