Athletic Club in Barcelona test as Atlético Madrid look to bounce back: Primera Iberdrola Week 22 Preview
Athletic Club will have to pass the Barcelona test on Sunday at home at the Lezama Facility if their hopes of playing Champions League football next season are to materialise.
Still bubbling from their 2-1 victory against Atlético Madrid on Wednesday, the hosts are hoping to be the first team to inflict defeat on the defending champions.
The teams have met 12 times at this venue and Barcelona won nine, lost two and drew one.
A win for the visitors will take them to 22 wins to maintain their 100%-win rate this season whilst a win for the hosts will take them to 39 points and consolidate their fifth position.
Barcelona will turn to their marauding forwards who put nine goals past second-placed Real Sociedad on Wednesday to win 9-1 and take their goal tally for the season to 122.
Forward Asisat Oshoala leads the goalscoring charts with 18 goals in the division this season with fellow forward Lieke Martens closely following on 16 goals.
The visitors have a clean bill of health having welcomed defender Irene Paredes and forward Mariona Caldentley from injuries against Sociedad on Wednesday.
The home side will be turning to forward Ane Azkona for goals as she has been the leading light for the team.
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Elsewhere, fourth-placed Atlético Madrid welcome Sevilla at the Estadio Wanda Atlético de Madrid Alcalá de Henares on Saturday.
The Madrid side lost 2-1 to Athletic Club on Wednesday, derailing their hopes of third position as they trail third-placed Tenerife by a single point.
The hosts have not been consistent of late and saw themselves drop seven points in their last five matches whilst the visitors collected just seven out of a possible 15.
The teams are amongst the teams that have drawn more matches this season, with Atlético Madrid drawing six and Sevilla drawing seven.
The teams have met eight times at this venue and Atlético Madrid have won all of them, putting them as favourites to win this tie.
The hosts will be banking on their in-form forward, Deyna Castellanos for goals.
A win will take the hosts to 42 points, two points above third-placed Tenerife who will be playing on Sunday, whilst a win for Sevilla will take them to 31 points and consolidate their seventh position no matter what happens to the teams below them.
UDG Tenerife have a tricky tie against Villarreal at the Estadio La Palmera on Sunday.
The teams have met just once, in November last year, and Tenerife won the match 2-0.
The hosts have won four of their last five league matches whilst Villarreal have won three of their last five matches.
Tenerife have been playing well this season and have been rewarded by finding themselves in the top three with less than 10 matches left in the season.
A win for Villarreal will take them to 20 points and be on the same number of points with 11th placed Madrid CFF.
Real Madrid will be relishing prospects of another dance in the champions league next season when they meet struggling Eibar at the Unbe Sports Complex on Sunday.
The Madrid side have been consistent and have won their last five matches, boosting their fight for a top three finish.
Eibar, on the other hand, occupy 15th spot with only 16 points from 21 games.
The teams have met three times and Real Madrid have an upper hand having won all of them, scoring seven goals and conceding only two in the process.
Real Sociedad will look to cement themselves on second position when they play struggling Levante away at the Ciudad Deportiva de Buñol - Campo 1 on Sunday.
Sociedad, just four points ahead of third-placed Tenerife, are smarting from a 9-1 drubbing at the hands of Barcelona on Wednesday whilst Levante have a morale boost coming from a 4-2 win against Rayo Vallecano on the same day.
The teams have met 10 times at this venue with Levante winning six and drawing four.
Battle at the bottom
Real Betis will look to collect maximum points when they host Sporting Huelva at the Ciudad Deportiva Luis de Sol on Saturday and complicate the visitors’ fight against relegation.
The hosts are looking to bounce back from a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid at the weekend whilst the visitors have a confidence boost coming from a 2-0 win over Athletic Club at the weekend to move one place above relegation zone.
Midfielder Grace Asantewaa will be the hosts’ trump card whilst former Liverpool forward Rinsola Babajide is looking forward to her first start in the Betis colours.
The teams met five times at this venue with Betis winning two, losing two and drawing one.
Bottom-placed Rayo Vallecano welcome struggling Madrid CFF at the Ciudad Deportiva Rayo Vallecano Campo 4 on Sunday.
The visitors will be looking to avoid a defeat which would put their fight against relegation in jeopardy being only four points above the drop zone.
The teams have met three times at this venue with Madrid CFF winning twice and losing once.
The visitors will bank on forward Geyse Ferreira for goals.
Valencia host Alavés at the Estadio Antonio Puchades on Sunday.
Alavés are eighth on the standings with 27 points and will have to win to consolidate their place in the top eight.
Valencia, on the other hand, will look to avoid a defeat which would put them in danger of relegation being only two points from the drop zone.
Fixtures (Saturday): Real Betis vs Sporting Huelva (16:30)
Fixtures (Sunday): Eibar vs Real Madrid (11:00); Levante vs Real Sociedad (11:00); Valencia vs Alavés (11:30); Athletic Club vs Barcelona (12:00); UDG Tenerife vs Villarreal (12:00); Rayo Vallecano vs Madrid CFF (12:00); Atlético Madrid vs Sevilla (12:00)
All times are Central European Time (CET)