MADRID, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- After a week's break for the Copa del Rey it promises to be an exciting and revealing weekend in the Spanish BBV Primera Liga with testing games for all three title challengers.
Real Madrid are the first of the three to play with a Saturday afternoon kick off away to Osasuna, whose El Sadar Stadium is considered one of the most hostile grounds Madrid have to visit each year.
Whether the atmosphere will be enough to help defeat a side containing players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema remains to be seen, but it should be remembered El Sadar is one of only two grounds where Barca have dropped points this season as they were unable to break down a packed Osasuna defense.
Barca, still without Leo Messi and Victor Valdes, but with Neymar who scored a brilliant hat-trick in the 6-1 thrashing of Celtic on Wednesday night, are at home to fifth place Villarreal.
Villarreal will be missing playmaker Cani through injury, but have shown they are able to play neat football and will present a challenge as Barca look to show that recent poor results were down to misfortune rather than the onset of any crisis.
Saturday also sees Rayo Vallecano take on Granada in a game between two sides who need points for their continued battle against relegation, while Malaga coach Berndt Schuster will be under further pressure as his team face former club, Getafe.
Malaga have slipped dangerously close to the drop zone and the home fans are losing patience with Schuster, who needs a win.
The big game on Sunday sees Atletico Madrid, who are level on points with FC Barcelona, test the resolve of a Valencia side who seem to be on the verge of crisis week after week, but which somehow always appears to produce a decent result at just the right time to save coach Miroslav Djukic.
The big factor for Valencia will be to match Atletico's hunger for points and success, if they don't do that then Atletico will again push Djukic to the brink.
The day kicks off with Almeria needing points to climb out of the bottom three against an Espanyol side which is capable of imposing a high rhythm on the game and "bullying" their rivals off the park, although it is also true to say that Javier Aguirre's side is more effective at home than away.
New Betis coach Javier Garrido makes his league debut away to Real Sociedad with his side rock bottom of the league and desperately needing points. Real Sociedad meanwhile need to put memories of a disappointing Champions League campaign behind them.
Real Sociedad's Basque neighbors, Athletic Club Bilbao dream of taking their place in next season's Champions League and are in fourth place as they travel to face Sevilla.
Sevilla have been finding their feet in recent matches, but could be affected by this week's resignation of club President, Jose Maria del Nido ahead of a 7 year jail sentence for fraud.
Athletic winger Ibai Gomez will be looking to celebrate his new three-year contract by helping his side to a win.
The round of games ends on Monday when Valladolid entertain Celta Vigo.