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La Liga returns from winter break with Barcelona and Madrid derbies

Lionel Messi

Bengaluru, January 3: La Liga returns this weekend with city derbies in both Barcelona and Madrid, with teams up and down the division eager to get started again after the winter break.

Leaders Barcelona are two points ahead of second placed Real Madrid going into the final round of games before La Liga 2019-20 reaches its midway point and crowns its unofficial winter champions.

Ernesto Valverde's side visit city neighbors RCD Espanyol - whose new coach Abelardo will be making his debut after Pablo Machin was sacked -, as the new year begins with another 'derbi barcelones'.

La Liga Fixtures | Results | Points Table

Recent history is with the blaugrana, whose last defeat in this fixture came in 2007, when Valverde was Espanyol boss.

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi usually enjoys meeting the neighbors, having 22 goals in his 25 La Liga city derbies - including three long-range free kicks last season.

Getafe vs Real

Getafe vs Real

Real Madrid travel to the Spanish capital's southern suburbs earlier to face neighbors Getafe. Los Blancos finished 2019 having dropped just behind Barcelona after three straight draws, while Getafe sat sixth through the winter break having won six of their last seven La Liga games.

This game finished 0-0 last season and recent form suggests another tight affair.

Valladolid vs Leganes

Valladolid vs Leganes

New Year's first La Liga game takes place as Real Valladolid welcome Leganes - the hosts spent the break just above the drop zone having drawn three of their last four games, while Javier Aguirre's Lega climbed off the bottom with seven points from the last nine available.

Later on is one of La Liga's historic fixtures as Sevilla FC host Athletic Club - both these teams had excellent ends to last year and are chasing European qualification spots. The Andalusians have the upper hand in this fixture recently with wins in each of the last four seasons, while the Basques have won just one of their nine away games so far in 2019-20.

Valencia vs Eibar

Valencia vs Eibar

The fixtures start at Mestalla where Valencia CF welcome SD Eibar, with Los Che still unbeaten in front of their own fans so far this season as they hunt a top four spot.

Meanwhile, the Los Armeros enjoyed their break due to a badly needed three points against Granada just before heading off.

Atletico Madrid vs Levante

Atletico Madrid vs Levante

Later, Atletico Madrid are at home to Levante in a clash of two teams who went on holidays having won both their two final La Liga games of 2019, with frontmen Alvaro Morata and Roger Marti having hit goalscoring form.

Upcoming schedule begins in Granada CF where RCD Mallorca are the visitors - promoted together last summer from La Liga SmartBank both teams will have happily spent the holidays outside the relegation places but will know things do not get any easier from here.

Celta vs Osasuna

Celta vs Osasuna

The final game is Celta at home to Osasuna at Abanca Balaidos. Celta spent the winter break in 18th spot and in need of a boost.

Osasuna would have enjoyed the break in 12th position having impressed on their return to La Liga this season.

(With MSL Media inputs)

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Story first published: Friday, January 3, 2020, 10:54 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 3, 2020
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