La Liga Previews: Sevilla Barca's toughest test yet
Sevilla have warned Barcelona and returning player Daniel Alves to expect their sternest test yet when the Primera Liga leaders visit the Sanchez Pizjuan on Saturday.
"The statistics show Barca have had their best start to a championship in their history. But we will be the toughest bone they've had to chew since the start of the competition," Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido told the club's radio station.
"We will give Dani a standing ovation when he salutes us from the pitch tomorrow. We were lucky to enjoy many years with him and with his help won five trophies and competed in six finals."
Fifth-placed Sevilla will be without suspended winger Jesus Navas. Barca have captain Carles Puyol, midfielder Yaya Toure and striker Samuel Eto'o back after being rested against Sporting Lisbon during the week. Striker Bojan Krkic has recovered from an Achilles problem.
Champions Real Madrid travel to face neighbours Getafe on Saturday with seven players missing through injury.
Strikers Gonzalo Higuain and Ruud van Nistelrooy, midfielders Arjen Robben, Mahamadou Diarra and Ruben de la Red and defenders Gabriel Heinze and Fabio Cannavaro failed to make the squad. Getafe will be without injured Mario Cotelo and Joffre Guerron.
Villarreal's Turkey striker Nihat Kahveci was wary of rushing back into action too soon after five months out with a thigh tendon injury, ahead of the trip to face Recreativo Huelva on Sunday.
"I want to play as soon as possible. I have been training with the squad this week but that does not mean I am 100 percent. I should enter the side little by little," he said.
Fourth-placed Valencia romped to a 4-0 victory away to Rosenborg in the UEFA Cup on Thursday, but have little time to prepare for the visit of in-form Real Betis on Sunday.
Betis have climbed from the foot of the standings up to eighth with a run of seven victories in their last eight matches in all competitions.
Atletico Madrid have doubts over defenders Luis Perea and John Heitinga for the visit of Racing Santander on Sunday. Perea has a thigh strain, while Heitinga was substituted in the midweek 2-1 win over PSV Eindhoven after a blow to the head.
Racing came from behind to draw 2-2 at Paris St.Germain in the UEFA Cup on Thursday.