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La Liga Preview: Eibar v Barcelona

Barca will defend a 2-1 lead against Manchester City at Camp Nou on Wednesday in the second leg of their last 16 UEFA Champions League tie before welcoming fierce rivals Real Madrid next weekend.

With the Catalan giants one point ahead of Real in the Liga table with 12 matches remaining, the next edition of El Clasico could be season-defining.

But first Barcelona have to deal with an Eibar side in free fall on Saturday. 

Eibar, playing in Spain's top flight for the first time, have nosedived down the table after seven consecutive losses.

In stark contrast, Barca have won four in a row, scoring 13 goals in the process.

Their latest win - a 6-1 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano - saw Lionel Messi bag a hat-trick while Luis Suarez also scored twice.

Neymar said the squad are buoyant ahead of a potentially pivotal fortnight and told the club's official website: "We are training hard.

"The way we get on together really helps. There's a great atmosphere [in the squad].

"We are playing our game better every match and we are looking strong."

A small town with a population of under 30,000, Eibar's tiny Ipurua Municipal Stadium has a capacity of 6,000.

And while the visit of Barcelona is a significant occasion for the club, it could hardly come at a worse time.

Eibar have scored just two goals in their last seven matches and appear certain to be dragged into a relegation dogfight.

They still sit 14th in the table but are now just three points above the bottom three.

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique is likely to rotate his squad, given the tough week ahead for his side.

Another start for Pedro, whose opportunities have been limited this season after the arrival of Suarez, seems likely. 

Pedro started in place of the suspended Neymar against Rayo Vallecano but has begun just 12 league games this season.

The two sides have met just once, with Barcelona holding the ascendancy.

They won the earlier meeting this season 3-0 at Camp Nou but were made to work for their success.

All three goals were scored in the last 30 minutes as Eibar's resistance folded in October.