La Liga weekend preview
Last Updated: March 15, 2013 8:59am
Ernesto Valverde: Looking for a win over Real Betis
Valencia coach Ernesto Valverde wants nothing less than victory when his side host fellow European hopefuls Real Betis on Saturday.
Los Che will look to arrest a four-game winless streak that has threatened their participation in Europe next term. During that run, Valverde's side were also knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage by Paris St Germain.
Valverde is wary of letting the season go flat and has called for his side to turn matters around against Betis, who sit a place and a point above them in sixth.
With Barcelona streaking away with the league, the fight for Europe, and relegation, have become the focus of the La Liga run-in.
Malaga's impending European ban has provided a number of clubs with hope of playing continental football next season.
The Andalucians currently sit fourth - meaning their one-season ban would kick in next term - to give clubs as low as Sevilla in 12th hope of reaching Europe.
Sevilla have a golden chance to boost their bid this weekend when they host a Real Zaragoza side that could have fallen into the drop zone by the time they meet on Sunday.
Celta Vigo or Real Mallorca could leap out of the drop zone before then. Celta travel to last-placed Deportivo La Coruna on Friday for a Galician derby that has developed into a war of words before kick-off.
Sought-after Celta striker Iago Aspas has drawn the ire of rival boss Fernando Vazquez after he said he hoped defeat would leave their rivals with "two feet in the second division".
Victory would, however, push Celta out of the bottom three although Mallorca could send them back in 24 hours later should they claim an unlikely win at Real Madrid. Jose Mourinho's side have started to find their best form of late and finally dragged themselves ahead of city rivals Atletico last weekend.
Atletico could even be four points adrift before they travel to Osasuna on Sunday while fifth-placed Real Sociedad, who ended the capital club's perfect home record last weekend, host Valladolid.
Barcelona will be fresh from their comeback Champions League success over AC Milan in midweek when they welcome Rayo Vallecano.
Getafe and Levante will both look to keep alive their flickering European ambitions. Getafe host Athletic Bilbao while Levante travel to Granada.
Elsewhere, Malaga, who reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 2-1 aggregate win over Porto in midweek, are at home to Espanyol.