Tough trips for Barcelona and Atletico in La Liga this weekend.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 14.48.53 by JACK PRENTICE

The second round of fixtures in Spain’s La Liga sees a mouth-watering clash between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona at the San Mames on Sunday evening.

It is a repeat of the Spanish Supercup final of 2015, which Bilbao won 5-1 on aggregate after a dominant display in their home leg and a solid draw at the Nou Camp.

However, Barcelona doubled the Basques in the league last year, including a 6-0 home win late on in the season.

Barcelona were in a similarly unforgiving mood against Gus Poyet’s Real Betis side on Matchday 1.

The Catalan club destroyed Los Beticos 6-2 to flex their muscles and begin their defence of the La Liga crown they retained last year.

That triumph was minus Neymar, who was at the Olympics with Brazil, and the Samba superstar could again be missing for the trip to Bilbao, who themselves lost 2-1 away at Sporting Gijon on the opening weekend.

The two big shocks of the opening weekend meet in an historic match for La Liga, as Leganes’ Estadio Municipal de Butarque hosts their first ever top flight game against Atletico Madrid in the newest Madrid derby in Spanish football.

Leganes won their first ever top flight game away at Celta Vigo, who were widely expected to challenge for Europe again this season.

leganes
Leganes opened their La Liga account with a win last weekend. (Image Credit: en.as.com)

Meanwhile, Diego Simeone’s men could only secure a 1-1 home draw against newly-promoted Deportivo Alaves. A 93rd minute Kevin Gameiro penalty looked to have sealed all three points for Atleti, but a  Manu Garcia’s late long range strike sealed a vital point for the 2001 Uefa Cup finalists.

Simeone will be looking for a reaction after his side’s failure to close out the match, but La Liga’s second smallest stadium at 8,138 capacity will present a different environment for Atleti, who play their second promoted team in a week.

Real Madrid kicked their season off with a convincing 3-0 victory away at Real Sociedad despite missing UEFA European Footballer of the year Cristiano Ronaldo.

real madrid.jpg
Madrid could be without Cristiano Ronaldo again this weekend. (Image Credit: goal.com)

Gareth Bale scored two goals as his upturn in form throughout the end of the season and into the Euros continued; the Welshman being named Man of the Match at the Anoeta.

Zinedine Zidane’s team start their home campaign against Celta Vigo, with the Galicians left reeling by that shock home defeat to Leganes.

The visitors will have to be in better form than the last time they visited the Bernebeu as they were destroyed 7-1 by a rampant Real team.

Other Fixtures:

Real Betis v Deportivo La Coruna

Espanyol v Malaga

Eibar v Valencia

Osasuna v Real Sociedad

Alaves v Sporting Gijon

Las Palmas v  Granada

Villarreal v Sevilla

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