Big game in Bernabeu while Barca face another test

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Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and FC Barcelona face difficult and important matches this weekend in the 15th round of matches in LaLiga.

The round of games kicks off on Friday night with Athletic Club Bilbao aiming to put two disappointing displays against Levante and Cadiz behind them at the expense of Granada, whose coach Robert Moreno is suspended after being sent off during last weekend's defeat to Real Madrid and facing the sack if his side loses again.

Three wins and two draw in their last five matches have lifted Alaves clear of the relegation zone and Javier Calleja's side have the chance to move into mid-table when they entertain a very irregular Celta Vigo on Saturday lunchtime.

There will be a contrast in styles when Valencia entertaining Rayo Vallecano in the Mestalla Stadium with Valencia's organized, but defensive, style pitted against their free-flowing rivals, who could have Radamel Falcao available after he missed their 3-1 win against Mallorca at the weekend.

Mallorca need to recover from that game but have a tough match at home to Getafe, who are recovering since the arrival of Quique Sanchez Flores as their 4-0 thrashing of Cadiz last weekend shows.

Barca's failure to beat Benfica in the Champions League on Tuesday leaves their European future hanging by a thread and showed that with his current squad and a long list of injuries, there is a limit to what Xavi Hernandez can do as coach.

Ousmane Dembele returned after an injury against Benfica and will play a part in their difficult visit to Villarreal, who are missing injured striker Gerard Moreno, perhaps more than Barca miss Ansu Fati and Pedri.

Levante improved in last weekend's 0-0 draw at home to Athletic Club, but are still without a win all season and they face a difficult visit to play fifth place Betis. Betis' 3-0 win away to Elche last weekend cost Fran Escriba his job as Elche coach and if they beat Levante, Levante's Javier Pereira's job will also be on the line.

Real Sociedad lost the leadership last weekend after being held by Valencia and they now visit Espanyol, who will still be feeling hard done to after their 1-0 defeat in the Camp Nou.

Raul de Tomas will hope to have adjusted his shooting boots after twice hitting the woodwork in the Camp Nou, while Mikel Oyarzabal could start for Real Sociedad.

Both Cadiz and Atletico Madrid need a good result when they go head-to-head, with Cadiz just one point above the relegation zone, while Atletico's defeat to AC Milan on Wednesday leaves their European ambitions hanging by a thread.

Angel Correa should start for Atletico after their struggles to score in their last two games.

Sunday's last game is the biggest of the weekend with league leaders Real Madrid at home to third-place Sevilla and the result will say a lot about Sevilla's title hopes.

Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui will hope that Real Madrid players such as Toni Kroos, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric are tired after playing in Moldova on Wednesday, while Madrid will keep their faith in Benzema, Vinicius Jr and an in-form Kroos.

The final game is on Monday and sees Osasuna look to return to winning ways at home to Elche, who have not yet named Escriba's replacement as a coach. 

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