La Liga preview: Real look to bounce back

By IndepthAfrica
In Soccer
Aug 24th, 2012

FC Barcelona’s Xavi Hernandez, second from left, vies for the ball with Real Madrid’s Raul Albiol, left, Sami Khedira from Germany, right, and Xabi Alonso, second from right, during a Spanish Supercup first leg soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Reigning champions Real Madrid will look to bounce back from their midweek 3-2 Supercopa de Espana defeat to arch rivals Barcelona on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho’s men travel to Getafe for their second match of the La Liga season still looking for their first win.

Real could only draw 1-1 at home to Valencia while Barca, who are away to Osasuna, picked up all three points with a 5-1 demolition of Real Sociedad.

While the season is still in its infancy, the early two-point gap will be something that Real fans will find unpalatable.

Meanwhile, Barca coach Tito Vilanova has rallied to the cause of goalkeeper Victor Valdes, whose blunder on Thursday enabled Real to score what could be an all-important second goal when the two sides meet again in the second leg on Wednesday.

Lionel Messi’s goal from the penalty spot against Real took his tally for the campaign to three goals, following up his brace in the thrashing of Real Sociedad.

Both Getafe and Osasuna are still looking for their first point of the season.

In their opening matches, Getafe went down 2-1 at Sevilla while Osasuna suffered a 2-0 defeat at Deportivo La Coruna.

On Saturday, Real Sociedad will attempt to rebound from their slow start at home to Celta de Vigo.

Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano, who both won their opening fixtures, meet in Seville.

Champions League hopefuls Malaga will take on Mallorca at home, while Espanyol play host to Real Zaragoza.

On Sunday, Deportivo de La Coruna travel to Valencia, and Granada will play Sevilla at home.

Real Valladolid will face Levante on Monday, followed by the clash between Europa League champions Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish capital.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone is looking forward to the fixture.

“As always, we expect them (Athletic de Bilbao) to be a very competitive team. I know the coaching staff and they don’t have any weaknesses,” Simeone said.

“They’re strong and they work well. As a result, I hope that we can do our best, as we did last season in both the league and the cup.

“Returning to the Calderon will be a pleasure for the players and for everyone else.”

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