Friday, February 22, 2008


Barcelona will hope to take another chunk out of Real Madrid's advantage at the top of the standings this weekend when they host bottom club Levante, while the pacesetters face a tricky home derby against Getafe.

Real could have moved 11 points clear at the summit if results had gone their way last weekend, but their shock loss at Real Betis combined with Barca's impressive victory at Real Zaragoza means only five points now separate the two Spanish giants.

Barca will expect to keep the pressure up on their arch-rivals with a home win over lowly Levante, so the spotlight will fall on whether Real coach Bernd Schuster can mastermind a victory over his former club Getafe at the Bernabeu.

Real's home form this season, which has seen them win all 11 of their league matches, indicates it will be Schuster and co celebrating on Sunday night.

However, the reigning champions' recent results suggest things might not be so straightforward.

Of their 11 competitive matches in 2008, Real have lost five - including three of their last four against Almeria and Betis in the league, and Roma in the Champions League.

However, in their last appearance at the Bernabeu, Real trounced Real Valladolid 7-0 and defender Gabriel Heinze insists there is no need to be concerned about his side's recent performances.

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