La Liga 2013, Week 29 preview and fixtures: Back to the grind

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

After an international break La Liga returns with a massive relegation six-pointer between Mallorca vs. Deportiva La Coruña

As often happens in top heavy leagues when the season begins to wind down, you have to move your attention down the table to find the interesting matches and story lines. The scrum for the fourth Champions League place and Europa League spots is excellent and the battle at the bottom is just as close. The match week's best game is a relegation six-pointer between Mallorca vs. Deportiva La Coruña on Sunday.

Here's a look at all the matches in Spain this week.

Saturday. March 30th

Rayo Vallecano vs. Malaga

(21:45 CET, 11:00 a.m. ET)

Malaga's four match win-less streak has seen them drop from fourth place to sixth place in La Liga. It appears that the strain of competing on two fronts has gotten to the Anchovies and if they want to hold on to a European spot (in case they can get UEFA to change their minds) they need to start getting points again. For Rayo their place in the top flight for next season is secure and there's still an outside chance of European qualification. Malaga will be without Duda and Ignacio Camacho, both of whom are serving red card suspensions.

Celta Vigo vs. Barcelona

(21:45 CET, 1:00 p.m. ET)

It's been a busy international break for Barcelona with most of their roster traveling around the globe for games.

More from our team blogs: FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes

Jordi Alba, Xavi Hernandez and Pedro Rodriguez all returned with injuries and are out for this match but the Blaugrana will get a boost with the return of head coach Tito Vilanova from cancer treatments in New York. Celta have lost three straight games and sit three points from safety. Getting points against even a wounded Barca side will be a tough ask for them.

Real Zaragoza vs. Real Madrid

(21:45 CET, 3:00 p.m. ET)

Zaragoza still haven't won a match since December and yet have somehow managed to stay out of the relegation zone. Recent positive results for Mallorca have put them under tremendous pressure and hosting Real Madrid won't make things any easier.

More from our team blogs: Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid

Madrid will likely be more focused on their Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Wednesday but that hasn't stopped them from getting league wins of late. Iker Casillas is back to full training after missing two months with a hand injury but he's still not quite ready to return to play.

Levante vs. Sevilla FC

(21:45 CET, 5:00 p.m. ET)

Neither Levante or Sevilla are in danger of relegation and neither team is likely to earn a European spot. It's all about playing for pride and seeing how far up the table you can get down the stretch.

Saturday, March 31st

Real Valladolid vs. Osasuna

(21:45 CET, 6:00 a.m. ET)

Despite being four points clear of the relegation zone Osasuna would probably feel a little better with some more points and a slightly larger gap. Their recent form has been fairly awful with three straight losses so they'll be looking to turn things around against mid-table Valladolid. Both sides are struggling with injuries at the moment which has a lot to do with their recent poor form.

Mallorca vs. Deportiva La Coruña

(21:45 CET, 11:00 a.m. ET)

Say hello to the biggest match of the week in Spain. Sure it might not have the glitz and glamour of an El Clasico but this is a massive relegation six pointer between the 18th and 20th placed teams in Spain. Mallorca's form has been up and down all season and despite a 5-2 thumping from Madrid before the break, they'd been playing well the last couple weeks. Depor went into the break with a big win over Celta Vigo and while the escaping relegation is still a possibility, they'll need to keep winning. This should be a great match, at least in terms of importance.

Espanyol vs. Real Sociedad

(21:45 CET, 1:00 p.m. ET)

After cooling off from their excellent form to start the year, Espanyol finally got back in the win column before the break with a 2-0 win over Malaga. The points moved them well clear of the relegation zone and they look safe for next season. Real Sociedad are unbeaten in eight games and find themselves precariously perched in fourth place. A spot in the Champions League would be massive for Philippe Montanier and his side but there's still a ton of work to be done.

Atletico Madrid vs. Valenica

(21:45 CET, 3:00 p.m. ET)

Atletico are in a fight for second place after squandering their advantage of rivals Real Madrid. After a draw and a loss, they bounced back with a win over Osasuna before the break and will be looking to keep that form going the rest of the season. Valencia are right in the European spot fight themselves, only two points behind Sociedad for fourth place. Games between teams with something to play for are always fun so this one should be worth your attention.

Monday, April 1st

Athletic Bilbao vs. Granada

(21:45 CET, 2:00 p.m. ET)

At this point I suspect Athletic just want the season over as it has been a nightmarish campaign for Los Leones. Granada still have some work to do to stay above the relegation fight and who knows what Athletic team will show up for this one.

Real Betis vs. Getafe

(21:45 CET, 4:00 p.m. ET)

The week ends with an interesting match between two teams that still have a chance of claiming European spots for next season. Since no teams above them seem willing to grab control of their places, the name of the game for both Betis and Getafe is just keep getting points and put pressure on the teams around them. They'll have the advantage of knowing what a win could get them as well by playing the final game of the week.

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