Barcelona look to get back on a winning track against Real Betis. Barca is coming off a forgettable three-match stretch that featured two big Champions League losses to Bayern Munich and a La Liga draw with Athletic Bilbao.
The best thing Tito Vilanova's squad can do is put those results in the rear-view mirror and refocus on capturing the league title. The last thing Barcelona wants to happen is for the slump to suddenly reignite the title chase for rival Real Madrid.
Betis is trying to lock down a European spot for next season as well. Earning a point (or more) at Camp Nou would not only help in that quest, but would also give the club a well-timed boost of confidence heading into the season's stretch run.
All eyes will be on Barcelona to see if they can get over their recent woes. Here's a glance at all the key viewing information for the important clash, followed by players to watch and a match prediction.
Where: Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain
When: Sunday, May 5 at 3 p.m. ET
Watch: beIN Sport and beIN Sport en Espanol
Live Stream: beinsport.tv
Barcelona Player to Watch: Andres Iniesta
Iniesta, one of the best players in the world in recent years, hasn't been his usual dynamic self lately. It's one of the main reasons why the Barca offense has gone for unstoppable to mundane. They need him to rediscover his form to close out the campaign.
What has always made him stand out is his tremendous combination of vision and creativity. The main reason so many Lionel Messi highlights end with him walking in alone on a keeper are because Iniesta set up the perfect scoring chance.
Lately, he has struggled to find his rhythm. Every player goes through minor slumps over the course of a season, so it's nothing to worry about. The club needs a strong showing against Betis to jump-start the attack. It will be interesting to see if he can provide it.
Real Betis Player to Watch: Ruben Castro
Castro doesn't receive a lot of attention in the star-studded La Liga, but he's quietly putting together another impressive season. He's scored 16 goals, which ranks sixth in the league, and he has added five assists in 29 appearances. Those numbers match his totals from last season.
He scored the club's only goal in a 2-1 loss to Barcelona earlier in the campaign. The Beticos are likely to lean heavily on him again in the rematch. Since Barca will control possession, his best chance will probably come on the counterattack.
Having a reliable veteran like Castro leading the attack is key for Betis. Knowing that, he must rise to the occasion over the final weeks of the season to ensure that the club is able to secure a spot in European play. He can handle the pressure.
Matchup to Watch: Barca attack vs. Beticos' back line
Messi returned to a full training session on Saturday, according to the club's official site, but no update was provided about his playing status. Obviously, having him in the lineup would be a major boost for Barcelona.
Should he not be able to start, the onus will likely fall on David Villa to lead the attack. Barca have no shortage of offensive talent, but having to rotate players has made it tough to find consistent chemistry. That has factored into the club's recent lull as well.
The Blaugrana should be able to find some space against a Betis defense that's allowed seven goals over the past three matches. The Beticos need a solid outing from the probable center back duo of Antonio Amaya and Mario to survive the Barca barrage.
Barcelona 2, Real Betis 0
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