England striker Michael
Owen is suffering from a pulled hamstring and will not travel to San
Mamés as Real Madrid CF look to give new coach Mariano García Remón a
second victory in a week against Athletic Club Bilbao.
Michel Salgado, Walter Samuel and Guti have all returned from suspension
but Zinedine Zidane is still not available. Jotha Pérez, who made his
debut in the 1-0 win over CA Osasuna on Tuesday, will be on the bench
along with youth-team midfield player Rubén De la Red.
For the Basques, hovering in 18th place with two points, victory is a
necessity, according to midfield player Carlos Gurpegui. "We cannot let
victory escape us, we need the three points and must give everything we
have got," Gurpegui said.
José Mari Romero faces his former team as Villarreal CF travel to meet
Club Atlético de Madrid, the club they beat in the UEFA Intertoto Cup
final last month. The home team have lost playmaker Ariel Ibagaza with a
muscle tear while visiting players Sonny Anderson and skipper Quique
Álvarez are both sidelined with pulled hamstrings.
Depor look to bounce back
RC Deportivo La Coruńa will be looking to get back on track against Real
Betis Balompié on Saturday after suffering a 5-1 home defeat by Valencia
CF. Depor coach Javier Irureta has not included Diego Tristán and Mauro
Silva is still out with a calf injury.
Mista or Di Vaio?
Valencia will be hoping to retain their unbeaten run when Real Racing
Club de Santander visit the Mestalla on Sunday. The defeat of Deportivo
in midweek was the club's second biggest away win in their history.
While Pablo Aimar continues on the sidelines, coach Claudio Ranieri must
decide whether to bring in Mista for leading goalscorer Marco Di Vaio.
After their 4-1 win against Real Zaragoza, FC Barcelona jet out to RCD
Mallorca with the aim of maintaining their push at the top of the table.
Samuel Eto'o, who scored two goals in midweek returns to his old club
but the Catalans have Thiago Motta, Gabri García and Sylvinho all out
Rest of the weekend
The weekend fixtures also include Getafe CF's trip to Osasuna while
fourth-placed RCD Espanyol entertain Málaga CF, CD Numancia are at home
to Albacete Balompié, Zaragoza meet Levante UD and Sevilla FC host Real
Sociedad de Fútbol.