MADRID, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona have the chance to further pile the pressure on Real Madrid in matchday nine of the BBVA Primera Liga.
League leaders Barca travel to the capital to take on struggling Rayo Vallecano in the Vallecas Stadium on Saturday night. With Real Madrid not playing until Sunday, a win in Vallecas would temporarily take Barca 11 points clear of Madrid, who face a difficult trip to play in Mallorca on Sunday.
Barcelona will hope to have central defender Gerard Pique available for the trip and his height will be vital for a defense that has struggled to defend set pieces this season. Pique would partner youngster Marc Bartra, who impressed against Celtic in midweek, while Javier Mascherano is suspended.
Atletico Madrid are another side that could momentarily go 11 points clear of Real Madrid should Diego Simeone's side win at home to Osasuna. Atletico kick off before Madrid and will fancy all three points against the side that is currently bottom of the table.
Saturday's remaining matches will see Valencia look to maintain their recovery away to a Betis side that recovers Benat Etxebarria following suspension. Valencia are in good spirits after a 3-0 win away to BATE Borisov in the Champions League and the return of midfielders David Albelda and Ever Banega to the side.
Meanwhile the Galician derby between Celta Vigo and Deportivo la Coruna returns to the top flight. Deportivo are currently in the relegation zone and will do well to take a point from a rival that looks solid at home.
Third place Malaga have little time to recover from their European exploits and follow their 1-0 win over AC Milan with a trip to face struggling Espanyol. Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini will hope to have defender Nacho Monreal available after a back problem.
Real Madrid's trip to Mallorca is the highlight of Sunday's matches and Jose Mourinho will have to continue with his makeshift defense as a result of injuries to full backs Marcelo, Fabio Coentrao and Alvaro Arbeloa.
Sami Khedira will also miss the trip to face a tough to beat Mallorca as a result of the muscle injury he suffered during the 2-1 Champions defeat in Mallorca on Wednesday.
Sunday begins with Zaragoza looking to confirm that they are not going to struggle this season which they had in previous campaigns. Manolo Jimenez's side looks limited in terms of talent, but their coach has installed a fighting spirit in the side and it will be interesting to see how they perform against his former club, Sevilla, who are fifth in the table. Striker Alvaro Negredo and winger Jesus Navas will pose the threat for the visitors.
Levante can pile on the pain for a Granada side that is struggling to get to grips with this current season, while both Athletic Club Bilbao and Getafe need a win when they meet in San Mames. Athletic will be without injured midfielder Ander Herrera, but are unbeaten in their last three home matches.
Valladolid and Real Sociedad close the round of games on Monday evening.