Madrid, Spain – The Coliseum Alfonso Perez was not kind to Barcelona last season, but the Catalans return to the venue on Saturday with a renewed vigor as Tito Vilanova hopes to guide his side to three points once again when it faces Getafe.
Barcelona is off to a perfect start thus far, taking nine points from its three games to open the season. It lost just three times in league play last term, one of which was at Getafe.
Vilanova watched as his side was held to a 1-0 defeat at the Coliseum in November, seeing Getafe perform like many La Liga minnows do against one of the greatest teams in the world.
"Getafe has always been a tough ground for us," said Vilanova. "Last year they sat back and defended. I just watched the game again and we weren't comfortable with it. Their players play very tight together. I know exactly how we have to play against them."
Saturday's tilt may prove to be slightly trickier than Vilanova anticipates though. It follows an international break and could disrupt Barcelona's momentum, especially with key players Andres Iniesta, Alexis Sanchez and Jordi Alba all picking up injuries for their respective national teams.
Still, Vilanova is not phased.
"We're lucky enough to have the best players in the world and that's why we have to let them go," said the Barca manager. "So they get injured? That could happen here too. It happens to any players at big clubs. It's normal for people to want to play for their country, it's a privilege."
Getafe has played the role of David already this season, slaying Goliath in a 2-1 defeat of reigning champion Real Madrid on August 26.
With key absences for the Catalans, the stars may be aligning for Getafe to pull off another shock result in the early stages of the season.
Should Getafe pick up a vital win, Real Madrid will hope to close the gap on Barcelona to two points with win over Sevilla on Saturday.
Also on Saturday, Valencia welcomes Celta Vigo to the Mestalla and Malaga hosts Levante at the Estadio La Rosaleda.
Sunday's action will see Atletico Madrid welcome Rayo Vallecano to the Vicente Calderon, Real Sociedad hosting Real Zaragoza at the Anoeta, Osasuna facing Mallorca at the Estadio El Sadar, Deportivo La Coruna heading to Los Carmenes to face Granada, and Espanyol and Athletic Bilbao squaring off at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat.
And on Monday, Valladolid will look to bounce back from a loss to Athletic Bilbao last time out when it hosts Real Betis at the Jose Zorrilla.