Fri, 22 Oct 2021

MADRID, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The fifth round of matches in Spain's La Liga this weekend promises a fascinating clash between the top two teams. Atletico Madrid face a difficult rival, and FC Barcelona need to overcome an injury crisis and recover from a confidence sapping midweek defeat.

The weekend kicks off on Friday night with Celta Vigo looking for their first win of the season at home to Cadiz, who need to recover from last weekend's defeat at home to Real Sociedad.

Saturday's first game is a Madrid derby that sees Andoni Iraola's attack-minded Rayo Vallecano entertain a Getafe side that has lost the first four matches of the season.

Atletico Madrid are next up with a tough game at home to Athletic Club Bilbao. Atletico coach Diego Simeone will rotate his squad to bring Angel Correa and Kieran Trippier into his side after their 0-0 draw at home to Porto on Wednesday.

Athletic Club travel undefeated after two wins and two draws, and the Basques have conceded just one goal ahead of what promises to be a close affair in the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Saturday also sees a rugged Elche at home to Levante in an east-coast derby, and ends with another derby in the north as Alaves look for their first points of the season at home to Osasuna.

Valencia's clash with Real Madrid promises to be the game of the weekend as Pepe Bordalas' men look to confirm their drastic change in both attitude and form against the league leaders.

Carlos Soler has been Valencia's on-field leader this season, and while Gareth Bale will miss out for Real Madrid through injury, Carlo Ancelotti has options in attack with Vinicius Jr, Lucas Vazquez, Eden Hazard and Rodrygo all vying for a place alongside the evergreen Karim Benzema.

Before the game in Valencia, Mallorca aim to bounce back from last weekend's defeat in Bilbao with a home game against Villarreal.

Real Sociedad against Sevilla also promises a fascinating encounter among two teams that hope to finish in the top-four at the end of the campaign, while Betis should take all three points from an Espanyol side that has so far struggled to adapt to life back in the top-flight.

Barcelona don't play until Monday evening and there will be a lot of attention focused on their meeting with Granada in the wake of the 3-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

That defeat showed just how far Barca have fallen in the past two years and after losing Antoine Griezmann and Leo Messi, coach Ronald Koeman's task has been made even tougher by injuries to Martin Braithwaite, Pedri and Jordi Alba. Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembele and Kun Aguero are still a few weeks away from fitness, leaving him with teenagers from the B-team to put on the bench.

Former Barcelona assistant coach Roberto Moreno is now in charge of Granada, and if his side can take something from the Camp Nou, the pressure will start to really build on Koeman.

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