Barca wait on Villa, Xavi fitness

MADRID - Brief news from La Liga ahead of this weekend's matches:

Barcelona are monitoring the fitness of Spain duo Xavi and David Villa ahead of the visit of La Liga leaders Valencia on Saturday.

Xavi missed Spain's recent Euro 2012 qualifiers to recover from sore tendons and has been advised against playing on Saturday, while Villa returned from Scotland with a knee strain which was not as serious as first feared.

"They are two important players for us and I am pleased to see they are better," Barca captain Carles Puyol told reporters. "I hope they will be able to play."

Valencia travel without injured winger Joaquin and defender Miguel but hope to make the most of Barca's poor recent home form in the league.

"At best, the results from the last couple of games at the Nou Camp will make the Barca players feel under pressure to win and appease their fans, and this might affect them," Valencia striker Roberto Soldado told reporters.

Unbeaten Real Madrid travel to Malaga for a Saturday fixture with a doubt over defender Sergio Ramos, who picked up an ankle problem on international duty with Spain.

Defender Raul Albiol and midfielder Sergio Canales are expected to return from injury.

Malaga, who were bought by a member of the Qatari royal family Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nassar Al-Thani in June, are 10th in the standings and have yet to win a home game this season.

Under Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira, their adventurous attacking formation has made them joint top scorers in La Liga with 12 goals, but they also have the leakiest defence with 12 conceded.

"We want these three points and a boost but most importantly we want to continue putting on good displays," defender Jesus Gamez told reporters.

Atletico Madrid host local rivals Getafe on Saturday with Uruguay's Diego Godin set to return after injury, though defensive partner Alvaro Dominguez will be missing with a twisted ankle picked up on duty with the Spanish Under 21s.

Argentina striker Sergio Aguero remains a doubt as he works to shake off a muscle strain. Jose Antonio Reyes returns from suspension.

Sevilla wingers Diego Capel and Jesus Navas are still recovering from their respective injuries and are unlikely to make Sunday's trip to play Sporting Gijon.

Their new coach Gregorio Manzano has two wins from two since replacing Antonio Alvarez just over two weeks ago.

Second-placed Villarreal have a doubt over Spain defender Carlos Marchena but have time to let their internationals recover fully before Monday's trip to play promoted Hercules.

Deportivo La Coruna coach Miguel Angel Lotina and Real Zaragoza's Jose Aurelio Gay are feeling the heat after winless starts to their campaigns.

Bottom club Deportivo are at home Osasuna on Sunday  and 19th-placed Zaragoza visit Athletic Bilbao.