As is always the case whenever the two clubs meet, things got a little testy when Barcelona took on Real Madrid on Wednesday. Lionel Messi reportedly lobbed insults at the Madrid coaches and then confronted Alvaro Arbeloa in the parking lot. Contrary to popular belief, and all evidence, Messi is apparently human.
But the story on Sunday is not Barcelona. It is their opponents, and suddenly Champions League contenders, Valencia.
Los Che have been revitalized by Ernesto Valverde, who have slowly guided them back into the top half, and now race for fourth place since being appointed on December 3. They have taken 15 points of a possible 18, including last week's come-from-behind victory over Deportivo that moved them within two points of fourth place.
Valencia have always played Barcelona well, especially at the Mestalla, giving the future La Liga champions fits. That should be the case again this weekend, where a draw looks likely. Valverde has only lost to Barcelona twice in his career, but has only beaten them once, doing his part to keep the stalemate in vogue..
Barcelona are still without Tito Vilanova, who is still undergoing cancer treatment. Assistant coach Jordi Roura will once again lead the team.
Valencia injuries and suspensions
Doubt: Roberto Soldado (thigh), Dani Parejo (hand), Jonas (calf)
Barcelona injuries and suspensions