Primera Iberdrola Week 12 Preview: Barcelona look to maintain winning streak as relegation battle hots up at the bottom
Barcelona look to make it 12 wins in the first 12 matches of the season as they aim to break their own record of last season.
The log leaders lock horns with fourth-placed Athletic Club at the Estadi Johan Cruyff on Saturday.
Barcelona have been scoring for fun and look forward to continuing with their goal-scoring form which saw them register three or more goals per match so far this season.
Forward Jennifer Hermoso and Ballon D’Or winning midfielder Alexia Putellas are expected to continue from where they left before the international break, leading the Blaugranes’ attack.
Defender Ana Crnogorcevic had a good outing for Switzerland scoring twice and assisting on five occasions during the World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Lithuania and will seek to continue with that form heading into Saturday’s clash.
The head-to-head favours Barcelona as they last tasted defeat at the hands of Athletic in February 2018.
Athletic Club, on the other hand, will be banking on their record of scoring away from home, but will have to be at their defensive best to stop the marauding Barcelona attacks.
Being fourth on the log standings, the visitors will be looking to avoid defeat in order to entertain chances of finishing in the top three, which comes with the incentive of playing in the Champions League.
Barcelona put 10 goals past Sevilla in their last match just before the international break away from home while Athletic Club were held to a two-all draw at home by struggling Sporting Huelva.
Elsewhere, Real Betis and Sevilla clash in a local derby dubbed the El Gran Derbi at the Ciudad Deportivo Luis de Sol on Saturday.
Betis, the hosts, have failed to beat Sevilla in their last two home games and most recently lost 2-0 to the visitors.
Sevilla are smarting from a 10-1 smashing at the hands of Barcelona in their previous match while Betis lost 1-0 away to Valencia before the break.
Betis will welcome back midfielders Grace Asantewaa and Eva Llamas who were serving match bans for red cards they picked against Real Sociedad and Real Madrid respectively.
Granadilla Tenerife will welcome relegation-threatened Rayo Vallecano at the Estadio La Palmera on Saturday, after losing 3-0 to second-placed Real Sociedad just before the international break.
The hosts had enjoyed a five-match unbeaten run before losing to Sociedad and are looking to return to winning ways.
However, Granadilla will underrate Rayo at their own peril, because their head-to-head reveals that Rayo once beat them at home in December 2018.
The home side will turn to their inform striker Maria Jose Perez for goals.
Rayo Vallecano, on the other hand, have failed to score in their last three away matches and have found it difficult scoring in most of their matches this season.
Real Madrid travel to struggling Villarreal on Saturday hoping to collect maximum points after a disappointing draw at home against Alaves just before the break.
The visitors will bank on forward Esther Gonzalez to lead them to victory while being cautious of the dangers posed by relegation threatened sides.
Villarreal, on the other hand, will seek to start a head-to-head history with Real Madrid on a winning note. The hosts held fellow strugglers, Rayo Vallecano, to a two-all draw in their last match before the break and look forward to building on that result.
Atletico Madrid host Levante at Estadio Wanda Atlético de Madrid Alcalá de Henares on Sunday in a match which promises fireworks as both teams vie for a top three finish.
Atletico Madrid boast of a better head-to-head against Levante and hope to continue with the bragging rights.
A win for the home side will see them level on points with second placed Real Sociedad who play later on Sunday.
The visitors will be hoping forward Alba María Redondo Ferrer will reproduce the form she showed against Madrid CFF in the last match before the break where she scored a hattrick.
Across town, Madrid CFF host second placed Real Sociedad at Centro Deportivo Municipal Antiguo Canodromo on Sunday hoping to do their neighbours a favour by beating Sociedad and hand them second spot on the log standings.
The hosts have won two of their last three home games against the visitors although the visitors have enjoyed a more fruitful campaign so far.
The visitors registered a 3-0 win against Tenerife in their last match while the hosts lost 4-0 to Levante before the break.
Madrid CFF will turn to forward Geyse Ferreira for goals as she is second on the top goal scorers’ chart, only one goal behind leading scorer Asisat Oshoala, who is on eleven goals.
Alavés will be hosting struggling Valencia at Ciudad Deportivo José Luis Compañón on Sunday.
The visitors, who find themselves on eight points after eleven matches of the season, are at risk of relegation if they fail to collect maximum points against Alavés.
On the other hand, the hosts have been collecting on average 1.6 points per match in their last five matches which saw them move to sixth on the log with 18 points from 11 games.
This will be the first meeting of the two teams and either team will want to start the head-to-head history on a positive note.
Eibar travel to Sporting Huelva for an early morning kick-off at Campo Federativo de la Orden on Sunday.
The hosts have not won in their last five matches, managing only two draws and losing the other three.
However, the hosts have an upper hand against Eibar in their head-to-head, winning three of their last four meetings and drawing once.
Fixtures (Saturday): Real Betis vs Sevilla (12:00); Barcelona vs Athletic Club (12:00); Granadilla Tenerife vs Rayo Vallecano (11:30); Villarreal vs Real Madrid (16:30)
Fixtures (Sunday): Sporting Huelva vs Eibar (11:30); Alaves vs Valencia (12:00); Atletico Madrid vs Levante (12:00); Madrid CFF vs Real Sociedad (13:00)
All times Central European Time (CET)
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