This year, Claudio Bravo will be on the same side as Leo Messi / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

The winter break is over and FC Barcelona get back to action on Sunday night in the Basque city of San Sebastian (9.00pm CET), home of Real Sociedad. The Catalans are currently second in the table with the same number of points (38) as Atlético Madrid, who beat Levante 3-1 on Saturday, and one less than leaders Real Madrid, who have one game in hand.

Here's a look at some of the main stories in the build-up to the match.

Real Sociedad stronger at Anoeta

Real Sociedad are not having the best of seasons and are currently languishing in fourteenth place, although there has been an upturn in their fortunes since the arrival of new manager David Moyes. And as our website noted this week, they have been considerably better at home than on the road, with 11 of their 15 points this season being won at Anoeta.

Messi, Neymar and Alves back with the squad

The Barça players are feeling nice and refreshed after their winter break. The last three players to report back for duty were Messi, Neymar and Dani Alves, who all spent Christmas in South America. Alves is still struggling with a hamstring problem and is unlikely to be in the side on Sunday, although he was able to train this week.

Neymar wins Samba Gold trophy

And there was special news waiting for Neymar, who was revealed as the 2014 winner of the Samba Gold trophy for the best Brazilian player in European football.

Emotional return to Real Sociedad for Bravo

Of course, the trip to Anoeta will be particularly special for Barça keeper Claudio Bravo because, as he told a press conference this week, “it is against my former club and I have unforgettable memories from there.” The Chilean was at Real Sociedad for eight successful seasons before signing for Barça last summer.

Fine starts to the year for Pedro

Another player to keep an eye on this Sunday will be striker Pedro Rodríguez. The Canary Islander has developed a happy habit of scoring in the first game back after Christmas, with six goals in such fixtures in the last five years.

Last session before Real Sociedad

On Saturday morning, the first team trained for the last time before the trip to the north coast. They were joined at the Ciutat Esportiva by Munir of Barça B.

Luis Enrique relishing Real Sociedad test

After the session, manager Luis Enrique spoke to the media, saying that “we are thoroughly looking forward to the game and have taken on board what happened on our last four visits.” He was referring to the fact that Barça have not won a league game away to Real Sociedad in any of their last four attempts. Asked how he feels the Basque club has changed since Moyes’ arrival, he said “they have gained in intensity and aggression when they have the ball … If we don’t find our best game, we’ll suffer. This will be a good test for us.”

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