La Liga 2013, Week 26 preview and fixtures: Another Clasico

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

The second meeting between Real Madrid and Barcelona this week will likely dominate the headlines but there are plenty of other entertaining options in Spain this week to enjoy.

If yet another El Clasico really isn't your thing, there are some other match-ups this week in La Liga that should fulfil your need for Spanish soccer. Osasuna meets Athletic Bilbao as both sides are scrambling to stay out of the relegation fight, while Real Sociedad hosts Real Betis in a match with potential European qualification ramifications.

Friday, March 1st

Getafe vs. Real Zaragoza

(21:00 CET, 3:00PM ET)

Zaragoza are precariously perched in 16th place, two points clear of the drop zone and Celta Vigo. A win over Getafe would keep Zaragoza safe for another week but the Azulones have won two straight matches and will not be a pushover.

Saturday, March 2nd

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

(16:00 CET, 10:00AM ET)

Another Clasico...yay. I love these games and even I'm starting to get a bit of tired head about this, especially with two games in a week. Real Madrid will be focused on their Champions League game in the mid-week so there's a good chance they'll be resting a lot of regular starters.

Barcelona on the other hand could use a confidence boost after their disappointing loss on Tuesday. Lionel Messi could miss the game after missing training on Wednesday with a fever (presumably not for more cowbell).

Deportivo La Coruña vs. Rayo Vallecano

(18:00 CET, 12:00PM ET)

Depor played great against Real Madrid last weekend but still lost, conceding two second half goals. La Liga's last place team is running out of time to escape relegation as every match they play is becoming a must win. Rayo's hopes of claiming a European spot are nearly gone after two straight losses.

Osasuna vs. Athletic Bilbao

(20:00 CET, 2:00PM ET)

At this point Osasuna's goal is probably just staying where they are, which is safely away from the relegation fight. They could do just that with a win over Athletic Bilbao who themselves have slumped within three points of the drop zone thanks to three straight losses. Another defeat at the hands of Osasuna could cause concern to become outright panic, especially after Athletic were embarrassed in the Basque Derby last week.

Valencia vs. Levante

(22:00 CET, 4:00PM ET)

Levante are firmly entrenched in the middle of the table having not won a match in February. Fortunately they are not in relegation danger but they won't be challenging for a Europa League place either. Valencia on the other hand are right in the thick of the European fight sitting in fifth place, one point ahead of Sociedad and one point behind Malaga for a Champions League spot. Valencia have little room for error at this point and will be looking for all three points against Levante.

Sunday, March 3rd

Granada vs. Mallorca

(12:00 CET, 6:00AM ET)

It's win or die trying time for Mallorca who are stuck in 19th place, six points away from safety. If they want to continue playing in La Liga next season, they'll need to do something against Granada that they haven't done in 2013...win a league match. Granada on the other hand are three points clear of the drop zone and would probably like to grow that cushion at Mallorca's expense.

Espanyol vs. Real Valladolid

(17:00 CET, 11:00AM ET)

Espanyol's six match run without a loss ended last weekend with a 1-0 loss against Atletico Madrid, but that's ok. Thanks to that streak, Espanyol moved themselves from the relegation to zone to the safety of the mid-table. Valladolid ended a four-match win-less streak last weekend, beating Rayo 2-1.

Malaga vs. Atletico Madrid

(19:00 CET, 1:00PM ET)

Malaga's 3-0 loss to Real Betis allowed Sociedad and Valencia to stay right on their tail for fourth place. Now, Manuel Pelligrini's team must face second place Atletico Madrid in what could be the weekend's best match. Atletico are fresh off a Copa del Rey triumph over Sevilla and could move within nine points of first place if Barcelona falls against Real Madrid.

Real Sociedad vs. Real Betis

(21:00 CET, 3:00PM ET)

Betis hadn't won in five league attempts before their 3-0 thrashing of Malaga last weekend. Despite the ill time slump, Betis are still only one point out of a Europa League place. Even better, they'll get a crack at Real Sociedad this weekend, the team just ahead of them in the table. Sociedad are flying high after their Basque Derby win over Athletic Bilbao so all signs point to this being one of the must watch matches of the weekend.

Monday, March 4th

Sevilla vs. Celta Vigo

(21:30 CET, 3:30PM ET)

Sevilla will be looking to improve their spirits after they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. They'll meet Celta Vigo who are currently in 17th place, two points away from getting out of the relegation zone. Their survival hopes got a big boost last week with a 2-1 win over Granada. If Zaragoza slips up against Getafe on Friday, Celta could find themselves out of the drop zone.

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