Barcelona can snap a three-match winless streak and maintain their La Liga standing Sunday as they meet Real Betis at the Nou Camp.
The Catalans were humiliated in their 7-0 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals, with a 2-2 draw against Athletic Bilbao in between.
Tito Vilanova’s club still maintains an eight point lead over Real Madrid in the Primera Division, but would like to avoid a tight race in the final five matches of the season.
“We are saddened at how we were eliminated,” Vilanova said after the loss to Bayern. “But what lies ahead for us is very nice. And I would take an 11-point with five games to go every year.”
A win for the Catlans could assure them the La Liga title, but Madrid turned up the heat with their 4-3 victory over Valladolid Saturday.
Betis has also suffered from a spotty three-match slide, with two draws and a loss, including last week’s 1-1 finish with Deportivo.
Bayern shutdown what was once one of the most prolific attacks in recent memory, but the Catalans were also banged up and fatigued from playing at such a high level for the better part of a year.
The two clubs last met in December with Lionel Messi firing off two goals, and Betis’s Ruben Castro notching one goal. Castro leads his club with 16 goals this season, and Benat is tied for sixth in La Liga with eight assists.
Daniel Alves, Pique, Adriano, Montoya
Xavi, Song, Iniesta
Villa, Messi, Pedro
Chica, Amaya, Paulao, Martinez
Campbel, Pabon, Carlos
Predicted Score: Barcelona 3-1
Where to watch: The match kicks-off at 3 p.m. ET, and coverage will be provided by beIN Sport. A live stream, which you view at your own discretion, will be available here.
Currently covering NBA, NFL, MLB, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, focusing on trades, controversy, and injury updates. Joined IB Times in August 2012.