Real Madrid vs R Sociedad 5pm
Getafe vs Elche 7pm
Athletic vs Levante 9pm
Celta Vigo vs Rayo
Espanyol vs Sevilla 1pm
Valencia vs Valladolid 6pm
Villarreal vs Atletico 8pm
Betis vs Barcelona 10pm
MADRID. Having sealed their place in the Champions League last 16 with two games to spare and Lionel Messi returning to something near his best, Barcelona are eagerly awaiting Sunday’s La Liga clash with Real Betis.
Messi ended a mini goal drought with a double in Wednesday’s 3-1 Group H win at home to AC Milan and the Argentine World Player of the Year will be looking to put a run of four domestic outings for the unbeaten leaders without scoring behind him when struggling Betis visit the Nou Camp.
The 26-year-old, whose season has been disrupted by a couple of minor muscle injuries, delighted his adoring fans when he smashed in a penalty after 30 minutes and sent them into ecstasy when he dashed through the middle and scored with a trademark dinked effort seven minutes from time.
Talk of a Messi crisis dominated the buildup to the game, but his record this term is one most players could only dream of - six goals in three Champions League appearances and eight in 10 La Liga outings.
“I’m calm about the recuperation,” Messi said on the UEFA website (www.uefa.com) on Thursday.
“I’m getting my rhythm back bit by bit and I think it really helps to have 90 minutes, then another 90 minutes, back to back so that I can gradually re-establish the tempo and the form I had before,” he added.
Barca have dropped only two points - in a 0-0 draw at Osasuna last month - and are a point clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who play at Villarreal on Sunday.
Barca’s arch rivals Real Madrid are a further five points back in third and host fellow Champions League participants Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Betis next victims on the block for Barca