Messi, Barca travel to the Mestalla to face Valencia

Valencia, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Lionel Messi will look to carry some momentum into Barcelona's potentially tricky fixture against Valencia at the Mestalla on Sunday.

The Argentine attacker enjoyed a banner week, breaking the all-time La Liga scoring record in Barcelona's 5-1 rout of Sevilla before claiming the all-time Champions League scoring record in his very next match.

Messi's resurgence appears to be coming at the right time as Barcelona, which had started the season with an eight-game unbeaten run in league play, has fallen out of top spot in La Liga.

A dip in form saw the Catalans drop two straight in league play, but as Messi goes, so too does Barcelona. And with a hat trick in back-to-back outings, Messi appears poised to guide Barcelona to another league victory, this time against a Valencia side that is winless in its last two league contests.

Valencia had won two straight to climb as high as second place, but a draw with Athletic Bilbao was followed by a loss to Levante, dropping the club to fourth place in the table with 24 points through 12 games.

Atletico Madrid has taken advantage of the slip-up as Diego Simeone's side has advanced to third place in the top flight.

The club responded well to 2-1 loss to Real Sociedad, claiming a comfortable win over Malaga last time out to move ahead of Valencia. Atletico will go for a second straight league win on Sunday when the club takes on Deportivo at the Vicente Calderon.

Rounding out Sunday's action, Villarreal will travel to struggling Cordoba, which enters the weekend in last place, and Sevilla will aim to snap a three- game winless run when it plays host to Granada.

While Atletico, Valencia and Barcelona will be aiming to climb higher up the table, they will merely be chasing a surging Real Madrid side.

Carlo Ancelotti's men sit firmly atop the table and have dismantled opponents in recent weeks, cruising to a nine-game winning run in league play by a combined score of 37-4. They will attempt to maintain their sublime form when they head to La Rosaleda on Saturday to face Malaga.

Levante and Espanyol will do battle at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat on Saturday while Celta Vigo plays host to Eibar and Athletic Bilbao travels to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez to face Getafe.

Monday's lone contest will pit Rayo Vallecano against Almeria at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos while Friday's match saw Carlos Vela net a hat trick to lead Real Sociedad to a 3-0 win over Elche.