LaLiga Matchday 11: Barca set for Bilbao battle at Camp Nou
Barcelona blitzed Villarreal in midweek — but a tough test against Athletic Bilbao lies in store next for the Blaugrana.
Xavi's men ran out 3-0 winners at the Camp Nou to stay within three points of leaders Real Madrid, who take on underperforming Sevilla on Saturday.
Elsewhere, top-four hopefuls Real Betis and Atletico Madrid go head-to-head, while fellow high-flyers Real Sociedad travel to Real Valladolid.
Meanwhile, Villarreal will be bidding to bounce back from their defeat in Catalonia when they host mid-table Almeria.
Game of the week: Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao (Sunday, 8pm)
Barcelona put last weekend's El Clasico defeat behind them in convincing style on Thursday night — and they will need a similarly assured performance to beat Athletic.
The visitors started the season impressively and are just two points off the Champions League spots ahead of Matchday 11.
But they are now three games without a win after a disappointing 2-2 draw at Getafe in their last outing.
After conceding in all three of those fixtures, they will be dreading the prospect of facing in-form Barca marksman Robert Lewandowski.
The Polish striker netted the 600th and 601st goals of his career against Villarreal — Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the only other players to reach that figure this century.
Real Madrid vs Sevilla (Saturday, 8pm)
Real Madrid continued their unbeaten start to the season by defeating Elche on Wednesday night — and struggling Sevilla are this weekend's visitors to the Bernabeu.
Rojiblancos manager Jorge Sampaoli has brought a degree of stability to the Andalucian outfit since being appointed earlier this month.
His side are unbeaten under the Argentinian's tenure, drawing 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao and Valencia either side of a 1-0 victory at Mallorca.
However, Sevilla still find themselves marooned in mid-table and it will be tough to continue that run against Carlo Ancelotti's rampant Real.
This year's Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema celebrated his award by scoring his fifth league goal of the campaign on Wednesday in what was the Frenchman's 300th LaLiga win.
Real Betis vs Atletico Madrid (Sunday, 3.15pm)
It is fifth versus fourth at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, as Real Betis and Atletico Madrid look to boost their chances of Champions League qualification.
Both sides will have been disappointed with their midweek endeavours after Atleti dropped points against Rayo Vallecano and Manuel Pellegrini's side drew with relegation-threatened Cadiz.
This fixture looks set to be a low-scoring affair between two of the division's most miserly defences.
Betis have leaked just six goals all season, with only two of those coming at home, while just one of Atletico's eight goals against has come on the road.
Villarreal vs Almeria (Sunday, 5.30pm)
Unai Emery's Yellow Submarine were well and truly sunk by Barcelona on Matchday 10, though they should get back to winning ways on home soil against Almeria.
Sunday's visitors have only picked up one point on the road all season — and have lost five of their last seven LaLiga fixtures.
However, they did beat Girona 3-2 on Thursday and will be boosted by forward El Bilal Toure's current hot streak.
The Mali international, 21, has scored in each of his last three appearances, netting against Rayo Vallecano, Real Betis and Girona to get his Almeria career off to a fine start.
Real Valladolid vs Real Sociedad (Saturday, 3.15pm)
Real Valladolid are enjoying a solid season after winning promotion last term — but they will be sorely tested by in-form Real Sociedad.
The Basque club are on an outrageous run, having won their previous eight games on the bounce and only lost one away match in 2022-23.
But the hosts will be in buoyant spirits ahead of this fixture after recording an impressive 4-1 victory over Celta Vigo last time out.
Striker Sergio Leon netted his third and fourth goals of the campaign in that game — and the veteran frontman will once again be key to the hosts' hopes.
The weekend's other games
Rayo Vallecano vs Cadiz (Saturday, 1pm)
Valencia vs Mallorca (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Espanyol vs Elche (Sunday, 1pm)
Girona vs Osasuna (Sunday, 5.30pm)
Celta Vigo vs Getafe (Monday, 8pm)
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