La Liga Preview: Barcelona aim to secure title
By Football News
Barcelona will look to bounce back from their UEFA Champions League elimination by securing their 22nd La Liga title this weekend.
Tito Vilanova's side were eliminated from Europe's top competition after falling to a 7-0 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich. However, they can restore smiles to the faces of their fans if they beat Real Betis and Real Madrid fail to overcome Real Valladolid.
However neither Barca or Real have lost a home game all season, and it therefore seems likely that the Catalan club will have to wait at least another week before they are officially crowned champions of Spain.
Elsewhere the battle to avoid relegation gathers pace, Celta Vigo take on Athletic Bilbao in a game which could have massive implications for both sides. Paco Herrera's team can move out of the bottom three if they take maximum points, while Marcelo Bielsa's men will virtually secure their place in the top flight with a win.
Osasuna and Granada are two teams who are also in the mire at the wrong end of the table, and both face difficult outings against teams chasing a place in European competition.
Granada welome fifth placed and UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists Malaga, while Basque outfit Osasuna travel to Valencia hoping to improve their disappointing away record against a side that have only lost three times at the Mestalla so far this campaign.
Deportivo La Coruna have boosted their hopes of survival in recent times with a six-game unbeaten run under Fernando Vasquez, who is the Riazor club's third manager of the season. That run will be severely tested on Saturday however as they take on third-placed Atletico Madrid.
Mallorca can move off the bottom with a win over Levante despite falling to defeat against Real Zaragoza last weekend, while Sevilla welcome Espanyol in a fight between two midtable sides.
Zaragoza earned their first win of 2013 with the dramatic 3-2 over Mallorca and they will look to move out of the bottom three as they face a Rayo Vallecano team who still have half a chance of reaching the UEFA Europa League.
Getafe meet Real Sociedad in the final game of the round on Monday, with the visitors knowing they can tighten their grip on the final UEFA Champions League spot with a victory.