The second round of matches in the top division of the Spanish football league will see a repeat of last season’s Copa del Rey final, while Real Madrid will make their home debut against a re-vamped Valencia.
The weekend kicks off on Friday night with two attractive matches as Real Sociedad host Villarreal, a match between the sides who finished sixth and fifth last season, reports Xinhua news agency.
That is followed by Quique Setien’s home debut as Betis coach as his side entertain Celta Vigo, who last week outplayed Real Sociedad, only to throw the game away with defensive errors.
Barcelona are in action early on Saturday as they visit Alaves, in what is a rerun of last season’s Cup final, which Barca won 3-1, however, they will find a much different Alaves who changed almost half of their squad and have a new coach Luis Zubeldia.
Barca will be without the injured Luis Suarez, although recent signing Paulihno could make his debut in central midfield after another week at the club marred by off-field controversy.
Levante follow up their home win over Villarreal with another home match against Deportivo la Coruna, who were well beaten by Real Madrid last weekend, while Girona also repeat in front of their fans when they entertain Malaga.
The first weekend saw Girona surprise Atletico Madrid before finally drawing 2-2, while Malaga’s campaign, which comes after a difficult summer in which they lost some important players, got off to a poor start with a 1-0 defeat at home to Eibar.
Saturday ends when Atletico Madrid look to improve on last week’s display when they travel to Las Palmas. Antoine Griezmann is suspended for Atletico following his red card in the league opener, which earned him a 2-game ban.
With Sunday starts in Barcelona, where Espanyol will try to build on the positive sensations from last weekend’s draw in Sevilla when they entertain Leganes, while recently promoted Getafe are at home to a Sevilla side that assured its place in the group stage of the Champions League in midweek.
The Basque country sees a derby between Eibar and Athletic Club Bilbao, before Real Madrid close the weekend’s matches when they entertain Valencia.
Cristiano Ronaldo serves the third of his 5-game ban, while Sergio Ramos is also suspended, meaning that Fernandez and Rafael Varene will play in the Madrid defense.
Madrid managed perfectly without Ronaldo in their 3-0 win in La Coruna last weekend with Gareth Bale getting back on the scoresheet, but will probably have a tougher task against Valencia, who kicked off the season with a 1-0 win at home to Las Palmas and look to be a more solid and committed side under new coach Marcelino Garcia.