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Barca hopes to maintain top spot vs. Getafe

Getafe, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Barcelona's position at the top of the La Liga table could be under threat this weekend at the leaders head to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez on Sunday to take on Getafe.

Gerardo Martino's men are on 43 points, putting them level with Atletico Madrid atop the table.

But with Lionel Messi's extended absence and Neymar's suspension through yellow card accumulation, the Catalans appear more likely to drop points and slip to second place ahead of La Liga's winter break.

Those key omissions open the door for Pedro to cement a spot in the squad, and it's a chance he's eager to take.

"When you play less you don't necessarily feel less important, but it is true that it is a different feeling when you don't get so many minutes on the field," he said. "What I need to do is fight to try and achieve my objective which is to stay at Barcelona."

Getafe enters the weekend in eighth place on 23 points but has dropped two of its last three league games, slipping further away from a spot in Europe.

Atletico returns to action on Saturday with a home clash against Levante, which put an end to a five-game slide last time out with a 2-1 defeat of Elche.

Also on Saturday, Villarreal plays host to Sevilla at El Madrigal, Almeria heads to the Benito Villamarin to take on last-place Real Betis and Real Sociedad squares off against Granada at Los Carmenes.

Real Madrid was held to a 2-2 draw with Osasuna last time out, but it was a welcome point given the fact that Carlo Ancelotti's men trailed by two in the match. They will hope to bounce back into the win column on Sunday when they head to the Mestalla for a crucial tilt with Valencia.

Elsewhere in Spain on Sunday, Athletic Bilbao hosts Rayo Vallecano at San Mames, Valladolid heads to the Estadi Cornella-El Prat to face Espanyol and Celta Vigo does battle with Osasuna at the Estadio Municipal de Balaidos.

Friday's lone La Liga clash saw Malaga earned a 1-0 win over 10-man Elche behind Ignacio Camacho's fifth-minute strike.