Barcelona are soaring high atop La Liga, with an eight point lead over second place and eleven matches to go. That the first of those eleven matches comes against relegation-threatened Getafe -- themselves just one point clear of the drop zone -- has to have them feeling even better about their chances of extending that already-commanding lead this weekend.
Of course, they could just as easily find themselves looking too far ahead in the task at hand. Barcelona have a Champions League match coming up in just a few days' time against Arsenal, and if their focus wanders too far it could leave them vulnerable to a major upset. Helping their cause, however, is that Getafe are in terrible form -- prior to them earning a draw with Sevilla last weekend, they'd lost seven straight matches. That gives Barcelona a lot of room for error, and a whole lot of room to have fun with as they prepare for the tougher match ahead.
Key player -- Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Messi probably won't play the full match as he'll be protected for Barcelona's upcoming Champions League match, but while he's on the pitch -- hooooo boy. Getafe's back line is decimated by injuries and suspensions, leaving them stretched preciously thin while they try to deal with Barcelona's high-octane attack. No one in the world is better at exploiting that kind of situation than Messi, and he could put on quite a show in this game.
Key matchup -- Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) vs. Victor Rodriguez (Getafe)
Getafe's defense isn't the only part of their team that's hard-hit by injuries and suspensions, and Rodriguez is the last man standing among Getafe's most promising attacking threats. With it probable that Sergio Busquets sits out so as to not risk further injury ahead of the Champions League match and with Javier Mascherano out suspended, he'll most likely be matched up against Rakitic. Normally used more as a possession hub in Barcelona's midfield, Rakitic will have to step up in a big way in the defensive phase, because taking Rodriguez off the board will cripple any hope Getafe have of getting something out of this game -- and taking Rodriguez off the board will be Rakitic's number one task for the day.
Barcelona injuries and suspensions
Out: Javier Mascherano, Sandro Ramirez, Rafinha In doubt: Sergio Busquets
Getafe injuries and suspensions
Out: Alvaro Vazquez, Pablo Sarabia, Cala, Medhi Lacen, Damian Suarez, Roberto Lago, Carlos Vigaray
Match Date/Time: Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, 4 p.m. local
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
TV: beIN Sports (U.S. - English), beIN Sports en Español (U.S. - Spanish), Canal+ Liga/HD (Spain)
Online: beIN Sports Connect, fuboTV (U.S.)