Madrid derby the highlight in Spain this weekend

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The Madrid derby between Atletico and Real Madrid is the standout game in the sixth round of matches in La Liga this weekend.

The derby on Sunday night sees Real Madrid cross town on the back of five wins from five games and after Jude Bellingham scored a late goal to start their Champions League campaign with a victory.

Rodrygo (L) of Real Madrid breaks through during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Real Madrid and Union Berlin in Madrid, Spain, Sept. 20, 2023. (Photo by Yuheng Zhang/Xinhua)

Dani Carvajal is Real Madrid's only injury worry, apart from long-term absentees Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao, while Atletico have a longer injury list, with Rodrigo de Paul, Koke, Thomas Lemar and Reinildo all out, while Memphis Depay remains a doubt for Sunday.

Atletico's start to the season was ruined by a poor 3-0 defeat in Valencia last weekend, and although they drew 1-1 away to Lazio on Tuesday, they will need to improve if they want to spoil Real Madrid's start to the campaign.

The weekend kicks off with fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao playing a Basque derby away to Alaves, who have won both of their home games this season.

The game means Athletic striker Asier Villalibre returns to the ground where he spent the second half of last season on loan, scoring a dramatic last-minute penalty that won promotion for the Vitoria side.

Girona have been the revelation of the campaign to date with four wins and a draw to start the season. Michel's side will expect to make it five wins when they entertain Mallorca on Saturday lunchtime.

Sevilla took their first win of the season last weekend, but didn't convince at home to Las Palmas and they also disappointed in the 1-1 draw at home to Lens to start their Champions League campaign on Wednesday.

Jose Luis Mendilibar's side have little recovery time, and that will test his squad ahead of a difficult visit to face an Osasuna side smarting after conceding three headed goals in Getafe last weekend.

Celta Vigo were unlucky to lose at home to Mallorca last weekend, but Rafa Benitez's side have had a worse start to this season than last season, and things are unlikely to improve when they visit a Barcelona side that is packed with confidence after 5-0 wins against Real Betis and Royal Antwerp.

Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo look to have slotted into the Barca side perfectly, and anything other than another Barca win would be a big surprise.

Almeria have had plenty of scoring chances this season but failed to take them, and that is the main reason Victor Moreno's side entertain Valencia with just one point from a possible 15.

Valencia travel with their young team packed with confidence after their 3-0 thrashing of Atletico, and Almeria have to match the energy of Fran Perez, Pepelu and Javi Guerra, otherwise the pressure will start to mount on their coach.

Real Sociedad entertain an always awkward Getafe after impressing but only drawing 1-1 at home to Inter Milan on Wednesday. Andre Silva could be in line for his debut with La Real, who have only won one league game from five despite their impressive football, and whose squad depth could be tested in the next couple of weeks.

Villarreal coach Pacheta said his side have to improve in several things after they beat Almeria last weekend and a test of whether they have improved will come in a tough visit to Vallecas to play Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

Villarreal have a Europa League tie away to Panathinaikos on Thursday and tired legs could be an issue, as they could be for Betis, who play at home to a Cadiz side that needs to show more ambition than last weekend in Bilbao. 

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