LaLiga: Barca, Real Madrid face in-form opponents before World Cup

Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior in action. (PHOTO: LaLiga)
Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior in action. (PHOTO: LaLiga)

This midweek the 20 teams of LaLiga Santander will play their Matchday 14 fixtures, the final round of league action before the break for the World Cup.

All the clubs will want to finish on a high ahead of the mid-season break, especially the top two sides Barcelona and Real Madrid, who have difficult midweek clashes with in-form opponents.


The first of the midweek fixtures takes place at Elche’s Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero, and Los Franjiverdes will be desperate to secure their first victory of the season.

The club announced on Monday that José Bordalás will take over from Jorge Almirón after the World Cup, but they’ll hope to collect three much-needed points when they host Girona FC on Tuesday, when Sergio Mantecón will be the caretaker coach.

The action then moves to Bilbao, where Athletic Bilbao will take on Real Valladolid. Although Ernesto Valverde’s side have slipped down the table in recent weeks, they have won three of their past four at San Mamés and will hope to give their fans plenty to cheer about ahead of the break.

Title challengers Barcelona are then in action on Tuesday night, playing away at Osasuna. This won’t be easy for Xavi’s side, as the side from Pamplona are fifth in the table, having won three and drawn one of their past four matches.

Chimy Ávila is in great form again, with three goals scored in his past two outings, but Barça have a top striker of their own in Robert Lewandowski, the league’s top scorer who just won the October Player of the Month prize.

Wednesday’s action begins with two fixtures being held simultaneously, as Almería seek what would be a fourth consecutive home victory when Getafe come to town and as Sevilla host Real Sociedad, looking to build on the momentum of their late equaliser in Sunday’s El Gran Derbi.

Quique Setién then returns to the city of Barcelona on Wednesday evening with his new Villarreal team, as they play away at Espanyol.

It has been a tough start for Setién, with no victories from his first four matches in charge of El Submarino Amarillo, but Gerard Moreno is back from injury and will hope to lead the line and score against his former club.

The last of Wednesday’s games takes place off the mainland, as Mallorca host Atlético Madrid. Former Atleti coach Javier Aguirre has a touchline ban and will have to watch on from a distance, but he has built a very well-organised team, one that defeated Diego Simeone’s men 1-0 the last time they visited the island in April.

El Cholo will be desperate for his side to finish this part of the season with a win, as Los Colchoneros have currently gone four matches in all competitions without tasting victory.

Three more games follow on Thursday, starting with Rayo Vallecano vs Celta Vigo. This will be new Celta coach Carlos Carvalhal’s second match in charge, as he takes his new squad to Vallecas to challenge the well-established unit that Andoni Iraola has constructed – and which downed reigning champions Real Madrid on Monday night – over the past few years.

Valencia vs Real Betis then follows and this is always a fun fixture. These two sides met in the 2022 Copa del Rey final earlier in the year, a duel that went all the way to penalties before Los Verdiblancos lifted the trophy.

Overall, these two teams’ meetings over the past six seasons have produced 3.15 goals on average, so it could be a busy night for the goalkeepers.

Then, on Thursday night, the Bernabéu will host the last LaLiga Santander match until after the World Cup. Real Madrid will face off against Cádiz, who will travel to the capital with confidence after drawing both their meetings with Los Blancos last season.

Cádiz will also feel confident because they’ve lost just one of their past eight matches, so they should be able to put up a good fight against the champions to conclude this midweek round.

Watch LaLiga Santander live this weekend on your local broadcasters.