La Liga preview: Barca need a Pep talk
Barcelona are losing ground on La Liga leaders Real Madrid and desperately need to beat Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola's men have drawn three consecutive games in all competitions, including a 0-0 result at Villarreal last time out in the league.
As a consequence, they have allowed fierce rivals Real Madrid to move seven points clear at the top.
A home clash against Real Sociedad on Saturday could help them kick-start their campaign, unbeaten at the Nou Camp in their last 28 league matches.
The star-studded Barcelona will be hopeful Argentine maestro Lionel Messi (22 league goals) can find the net having failed to score in the three draws leading into this encounter.
While Barcelona may have knocked them out of the Copa del Rey, Real Madrid have taken full advantage in the league.
Jose Mourinho's side have won five consecutive league games, although a trip to face Getafe on Saturday shapes as a danger game.
Manager Luis Garcia Plaza's men are unbeaten in six league outings, but will need to stop the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo (24 league goals) and Gonzalo Higuain (14) if they are to extend that run.
Meanwhile, Espanyol and Athletic Bilbao meet in a clash between the sides placed fifth and sixth respectively.
Marcelo Bielsa's Bilbao should be eyeing fifth spot with Espanyol failing to win in their last 10 league visits to Estadio San Mames.
In another intriguing clash, seventh-placed Atletico Madrid host Unai Emery's Valencia on Sunday.
Diego Simeone has had a dream start as Atletico Madrid boss, with three wins and a draw in his four games in charge.
But that unbeaten record will be put to the test by Valencia, who are unbeaten in five outings in all competitions and have had striker Roberto Soldado (12 league goals) firing.
In other matches, Mallorca host Real Betis on Saturday, while Racing Santander travel to Levante.
Assistant coach Inaki Tejada will take on first-team duties at struggling Sporting Gijon when they host Osasuna after Manuel Preciado was sacked on Tuesday.
Villarreal travel to Sevilla on Sunday, relegation battlers Real Zaragoza and Rayo Vallecano clash, while Malaga visit Granada on Monday.