MADRID - Brief news from La Liga ahead of this weekend's matches:
Sevilla have Brazil striker Luis Fabiano and Mali's Frederic Kanoute back in contention for Saturday's visit of Andalusian rivals Almeria.
Luis Fabiano came on as a late substitute in their midweek King's Cup win at Deportivo Coruna after a month and a half out injured. Kanoute has returned from the African Nations Cup.
Sevilla have struggled in their absence, slipping down to sixth in the standings after four consecutive league defeats.
New Almeria coach Juan Manuel Lillo, who replaced Hugo Sanchez last month, has stopped the side's downward slide with a win and two draws since he took the helm. They are two points above the bottom three in 15th.
Leaders Barcelona, who play at Real Valladolid on Saturday, have injury doubts over defender Carles Puyol and midfielder Sergio Busquets, but have Mali midfielder Seydou Keita back from the African Nations Cup.
Barca's Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has struggled to find the net recently, has said he needs to improve his contribution to the side.
"I am playing badly. I have to do more. I haven't done well in the last two matches and I know I can play much better," he told reporters.
Real Madrid host Malaga on Sunday without injured forwards Gonzalo Higuain and Ruud van Nistelrooy, midfielders Rafael van der Vaart and Mahamadou Diarra, and defender Pepe.
France striker Karim Benzema is set to lead the line with Raul on the bench again.
Spain winger Pablo Hernandez is set to return to Valencia's starting XI in place of the injured Joaquin when La Liga's third-placed side travel to Tenerife on Sunday.
Nikola Zigic has a back problem, while David Albelda is a doubt.
Athletic Bilbao hope to build on their win over Real Madrid last weekend with a victory at rivals Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday, that would put them in the European places.
"Beating Depor could leave us in the top five and would help us to believe we deserve to be there," defender Fernando Amorebieta said.
Atletico Madrid's three consecutive league wins has them in a positive mood for Sunday's derby at Getafe, despite being lucky to draw 1-1 at home to second division Celta Vigo in a King's Cup quarter-final first leg on Thursday.
"Seeing how the game went it was a good result," Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores said. "We saw the vulgar version of our team. We need to forget about it and get back to how we were."comments