- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

MADRID (AP) - The three-way chase for the Spanish league title continues with some tricky opponents for co-leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, and closest chaser Real Madrid.

Barcelona welcomes mid-table Valencia while Atletico Madrid is also home to sixth-place Real Sociedad. Madrid has the toughest task of the three with a trip to the new San Mames Stadium to face fourth-place Athletic Bilbao.

Barcelona and Atletico lead on 54 points from 21 games, while Madrid trails the pair by a single point.

Here are five things to look for this weekend:



Atletico became the first team to win at Athletic Bilbao’s new stadium in the Copa del Rey this week, and Madrid would like to follow up that result by handing the Basques their first league defeat at home.

Madrid hopes to have Gareth Bale and Raphael Varane ready for Sunday’s matchup, which marks Sergio Ramos’ 10-year anniversary in the league.

The Real Madrid defender has played 545 times for Madrid and earned 115 caps for Spain by the age of 27.



Barcelona will be hoping fans show up for Saturday’s match against Valencia after just over 25,000 spectators - one quarter of the Camp Nou’s capacity - showed up for Wednesday’s 5-1 domestic cup win over Levante.

Lionel Messi did not come off the bench, so expect him to play on Saturday as the team tries to stay focused despite off-field issues.

President Sandro Rosell resigned after a criminal investigation into his signing of Neymar was launched, with Brazilian prosecutors also investigating the transfer. Messi is expected to get a pay rise, while the club has also failed to see club members approve a new stadium project.

Despite all of the distractions, Barcelona doesn’t seem to miss a beat on the field as it is unbeaten in 13 matches with 11 victories.

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