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Barcelona vs. Rayo Vallecano: Preview and TV schedule

Barcelona's busy schedule continues with a match against Rayo Vallecano as the Champions League and Manchester City wait in the wings.

David Ramos

Barcelona reclaimed first place last weekend thanks to Atlético Madrid's shocking loss against Almeria and will look to restart another reign at the top of the league table. In their way this week is relegation battlers Rayo Vallecano who aren't expected to put up much fight.

Neymar is apparently set to make his return for Barcelona, most likely on the bench, after missing the better part of a month recovering from a scary ankle injury. The Brazilian will probably get some minutes late with an eye to a bigger role in the midweek against Manchester City. Gerardo Martino could also rest some starters for the Champions League, making is lineup tricky to predict.

Rayo Vallecano are stuck in 19th place -- with just 20 points this season -- in serious danger of dropping out of the top flight if they can't turn around their season sooner, rather than later. The four point gap between themselves and Granda in 17th isn't insurmountable, though points against Barca would be a unexpected bonus.

Barcelona injuries and suspensions

Out: Xavi (rest).

Rayo Vallecano injuries and suspensions

Out: Nacho Martinez (suspended).

Xavi will be rested ahead of Barca's Champions League match. Neymar is likely to return to the bench for the first time since suffering an ankle injury over a month ago. Rayo is without staring fullback Nacho who is serving a card suspension.

Projected lineups

Barcelona: 11 names, not in formation notationVictor Valdés, Dani Alves, Gerard Piqué, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Cesc Fàbregas, Alexis Sánchez, Pedro, Lionel Messi.

Rayo Vallecano: Rubén, Anaitz Arbilla, Zé Castro, Saúl Ñíguez, Anaitz Arbilla, Raúl Baena, Roberto Trashorras, Rubén Rochina, Alberto Bueno, Iago Falqué, Joaquín Larrivey

Match Date/Time: 8 p.m. local, 2 p.m. ET

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain

TV: beIN Sports USA, beIN Sports en Español (U.S.), Sky Sports 1 (U.K.)

Online: beIN Sports Play (U.S.), beIN Sports Play (Canada)