MADRID (Sporting Alert) — An exciting matchup is set for Saturday when the high-flying Atletico Madrid play host to defending champions Barcelona in the top of the Liga BBVA table clash.
Barcelona leads the La Liga standings on difference as both them and Atletico are locked on 49 points after 18 games.
With both teams on good form this season, the winner of this game will take a massive step towards winning the title this term, but Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has dismissed suggestions that this game could be regarded as a final.
Simeone, though believes his team is playing well enough to will the La Liga title this season, but he will not get too carried away.
“We live in a reality that gives us possibilities, and that of course is focusing on one game at a time,” he said.
Atletico Madrid has been playing very well this season, both domestic and in Europe, thanks to the likes of midfielder Koke and forward Diego Costa, who have both been linked with a move to the English Premier League.
“I think Real Madrid and Barcelona are very powerful squads,” said Costa, who has scored 19 goals in the league thus far.
“We are fighting, fighting and doing things right.
“I know it is very difficult but we will continue doing our thing and going game by game.”
Barcelona, meanwhile, welcomes back star forward Lionel Messi, who returns from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for five-weeks, to score twice in the 4-0 win over Getafe in the Copa Del Rey in midweek.
Messi started on the bench on Wednesday before coming on in the second half to replace Andres Iniesta, but the Argentine international is expected to start on Saturday.
Barcelona has been impressive at Vicente Calderon, a stadium in which they have not tasted defeat in the LA Liga since February 2010.
Barcelona and Spanish midfield playmaker Xavi believes the clash will be a vital one, even though it may not turn out to be a decisive one.
“The game against Atletico is vital for the outcome of the league – it might not turn out to be definitive, but a win would lay down a marker,” he told www.fcbarcelona.com
“We are coming into the game with some good form. We’ll try and take charge and let’s hope we see a good performance.”