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La Liga preview: Fixture pile-up for Bilbao, Barca

30 March 2012 09:23

Athletic Bilbao face a two day turnaround to prepare themselves for a visit from Barcelona in La Liga on Saturday.

Bilbao travelled to Germany on Thursday to face Schalke in the first-leg of their Europa League quarter-final, and must back up just 48 hours later against reigning champions Barcelona at the Nou Camp.

Coach Marcelo Bielsa will face a dilemma as to how strong a team he puts out against Barca, knowing his side are still a chance to qualify for next season's Europa League despite sitting 11th on the table.

However, he will also be mindful of the return leg against Schalke next Thursday.

Barcelona face a similar problem, with Pep Guardiola's men held to a 0-0 draw against AC Milan in Italy in the Champions League on Tuesday.

They also face a return leg just three days after the home match against Bilbao, but with a deeper squad, the European champions are likely to be able to handle it better.

It is a must-win game for Barcelona, who have cut the gap to league leaders Real Madrid to just six points on the back of seven straight wins.

Jose Mourinho's Madrid are also in action on Saturday, but after a comfortable 3-0 win away at APOEL in the Champions League quarters, the Portuguese has a bit more leeway in his selection against Osasuna.

He will be wary though given that Osasuna upset Barcelona 3-2 back in February.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Malaga continue their charge for third when they host Real Betis.

Manuel Pellegrini's side have risen to fourth on the back of a seven match unbeaten run, and now trail third-placed Valencia on goal difference alone.

Betis on the other hand have taken just three points from their last six matches, and will be desperate to widen the gap between them and the relegation zone.

Racing Santander can close the gap to safety to just three points when they host Granada, who sit narrowly outside the relegation zone in 17th.

Bottom side Real Zaragoza have taken seven points from their last three matches, and need to continue that streak against Sporting Gijon if they are to avoid the drop.

On Sunday, Levante can close in on a Champions League berth when they travel to Valencia, while Atletico Madrid host Getafe.

Real Sociedad will be hoping to snap a three game losing streak when they host Rayo Vallecano and Espanyol are away at Villarreal, before Mallorca make the trip to Sevilla on Monday.

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Info

Competition
Primera División
Date
31 March 2012
Game week
31
Kick-off
18:00
Half-time
0 - 0
Full-time
0 - 1

Goals

0 - 1
89' Guilherme Siqueira (PG)
 (assist by I. Uche)

Lineups

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
7
10
30
15
16
21
31
# Player Bookings
12
10
18
3
16
22
25

Monday 22 September

Sunday 21 September

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20:31
20:16
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20:04
19:53
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04:31
04:24
04:00
03:02
02:58
02:23
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01:16
01:10
00:30
00:10
00:00

Saturday 20 September

23:48
23:37
23:28
23:27
23:18
23:18
22:49
22:42
22:29
22:21
22:19
21:58
21:54
21:51
21:31
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20:53
20:52
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20:09
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19:55
19:49
19:37
19:29
19:20
19:11
18:57
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18:03
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17:26
17:20
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15:46
15:40
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14:58
14:07
12:42
12:09
11:34
11:03
07:13
05:19
04:04
03:20
02:42
01:31

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