The game of the week in Spain is undoubtedly the clash between top of the table Real Madrid and 3rd placed Deportivo La Coruna.

Real Madrid fresh from their exertions in Moscow on Wednesday will be looking to keep their place at thetop of La Liga and fend off the likes of Real Sociedad and Deportivo.

Ivan Helguera could return having recovered from the injury that kept him out of Real’s game on Wednesday.

Vicente Del Bosque’s side have won their last four league fixtures and with Deportivo also in the hunt for the title, a tight game is expected.

Real will start with their strongest team, but after their midweek exertions Guti has said that he fears for the fitness of the side.

“It is going to be a very important game for both of us,” said the Real striker.

“We had a difficult game in Moscow in the week, while they featured some players who would not ordinarily play against Manchester United. We are at home though, and that will compensate for any tiredness we may feel.”

Deportivo of course possess the Spanish La Liga’s top scorer in Dutchman Roy Makaay. He is expected to be partnered by Spanish international Diego Tristan in Iruteta’s side. Jose Molina is expected to be back in goal replacing Dani Mallo who started against United on Wednesday.

In other games in La Liga, Champions League quarter-finalists Barcelona play host to 15th placed Racing Santander.

With Antic’ side only 4 points off of the bottom three, a win is vital for his team. The acting coach will have to make do without midfielder Thiago Motta who starts a two-match ban but Carles Puyol could return from a broken cheekbone.

Santander have lost their last three games against Deportivo, Real Madrid and Real Sociedad and anotherdefeat will drag the club back into the relegation zone.

Rafael Benitez’s Valencia will look to bounce back from last week’s defeat against Athletic Bilbao and take all three points against Espanyol. After their midweek triumph over Arsenal, Valencia will be confident of beating 16th placed Espanyol. Kily Gonzalez is still adoubt, but Canizares will play despite his injury sustained against Arsenal and Ruben Baraja will be back.

The big relegation battle will see Recreativo (20th) take on Osasuna (17th). Recreativo having improved of late with two wins and two draws from their last four games, look as though they could get thebetter of Osasuna and plunge them further into trouble.

Sevilla will visit Alaves, who after a very poor run managed to hold Barcelona to a 0-0 draw last weekend. Sevilla, who have the best defensive record in the league, will be looking to keep that statistic going.

The other games in La Liga see Real Sociedad against Villarreal, Valladolid visiting Mallorca, Real Betis at Malaga and Celta Vigo playing Athletic Bilbao.


Valencia v Espanyol
Recreativo v Osasuna
Sevilla v Alaves
Real Sociedad v Villarreal