Madrid, April 4 (IANS) This weekend sees the 30th round of matches in the Spanish Primera Liga and another weekend in which FC Barcelona and Real Madrid will play their respective games with more than a eye on the return leg of their respective Champions League games.
Barcelona have a 13-point lead at the top of the table and after their 2-2 draw in Celta Vigo last Saturday, they will once again rest players ahead of next Wednesday’s clash with Paris Saint Germain, which is in the balance after a 2-2 draw in the first leg, reports Xinhua.
That could be good news for Mallorca, who travel to Barcelona second from bottom of the table after a shock home defeat to last placed Deportivo la Coruna. Barca will be without Lionel Messi, who has a hamstring injury that ends his incredible run of scoring in his side’s last 19 league games, while Javier Mascherano is also sidelined with a knee injury.
Tito Vilanova will use the game to ensure central defender Marc Bartra gets game time as he will have to play the following week, but it would not be a shock if Eric Abidal also plays at some point in the game, thus capping his return more than a year after his liver transplant.
Real Madrid have an easier task in Europe after a 3-0 first leg win at home to Galatasaray, but Mourinho will also rotate his squad against mid-table Levante.
The big question is whether or not he will call goalkeeper Iker Casillas into the squad, after so far leaving him out despite the Spain international captain having recovered from a broken bone in his hand.
Saturday kicks off with a fascinating game between fourth place Real Sociedad and fifth placed Malaga in a game that will have a huge bearing on who seals the final Champions League qualification for next season.
At the moment Malaga are not allowed to play in next season’s European competition by UEFA, but the club are appealing and hope to have the ban overturned. Meanwhile coach Manuel Pellegrini will also look to rest players as his side prepare for their trip to play Borussia Dortmund next Tuesday after Wednesday’s 0-0 draw in the La Rosaleda Stadium gave them a chance of a historic semi-final place.
Saturday also sees drama at the bottom of the table as Deportivo, who have won their last two matches, entertain fourth from bottom Zaragoza, who improved last week against Real Madrid, but remain without a win in 2013.