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La Liga preview: Deportivo visit wounded Barca

Barcelona can return to winning ways when they welcome Deportivo La Coruna to Camp Nou, while Real Madrid visit Celta de Vigo in La Liga.

The runaway league leaders fell to just their second defeat of the season in El Clasico last week, losing 2-1 away from home, with an 82nd-minute winner from Sergio Ramos giving Real a moral triumph ahead of Barca’s likely reclaiming of the league crown.

Barca lead the league by 11 points from closest challengers Atletico Madrid, with Jose Mourinho’s Real still languishing in third, a further two points back.

And Tito Vilanova’s men should bounce back emphatically on Saturday, as they host strugglers Deportivo, who sit bottom of the table some 51 points in arrears of Barca.

It will take something special to top the previous meeting between the teams this season, Lionel Messi netting a hat-tick as 10-man Barca beat Deportivo 5-4 away from home.

Atletico will need to win if they are to remain in second when sixth-placed Real Sociedad visit on Sunday – with the latter on an eight-match unbeaten run.

Sociedad have also lost just once in their past 16 – and that came at the hands of Real Madrid.

Mourinho’s men can maintain the pressure on their city rivals against drop-zone occupants Celta, however their only visit to the Estadio de Balaidos since 2007 ended in a 2-1 defeat in their Copa del Rey clash in December.

On Friday night, Real Betis can put pressure on the league’s top six, as the seventh-placed club host strugglers Osasuna.

Rayo Vallecano and Espanyol are without a win in three and two matches respectively ahead of their date on Saturday.

Fourth-placed Malaga are on the road at Real Valladolid, while second-bottom Mallorca host mid-table Sevilla.

In the early kick-off on Sunday, Athletic Bilbao host Valencia in Basque country before Levante and Getafe go head to head.

Thu 7 March, 2013
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