Barcelona will look to stay within reach of high-flying Atletico Madrid when they welcome Getafe to the Camp Nou this Saturday, having beaten the Madrid outfit 5-2 back in December.
As things stand, Gerardo Martino's men are four points adrift of league leaders Atleti with three games left to play. Attention is being focused on the pair's campaign closer on May 18, but a lapse in concentration prior to that could see the La Liga title being decided even earlier.
Ahead of Barcelona's weekend examination, we bring all the essential viewing information and match context, breaking down Getafe's chances of causing an upset as they make their way to Catalan country.
Date: Saturday, May 3
Time: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET
Live Stream: beIN Sports (U.S., subscription required)
TV Info: beIN Sports (U.S.) Highlights on Sky Sports 3 (UK, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET)
Including their winless two-legged Champions League quarter-final against Atletico, Barca have won just three of their last six fixtures in what's been a patchy run of form.
That being said, two of their three victories in that time have come in their last two outings, earning a valuable six points from Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao.
Martino will find it disappointing to see that his side have failed to keep a clean sheet in more than a month. The Telegraph's Paul Hayward used Bayern's midweek loss to Real Madrid to highlight Barca's attitude toward defensive duties:
Two new centre-backs to go with Lewandowski should put Bayern right back up there. The Barcelona trap of thinking defending is vulgar.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) April 30, 2014
Barcelona have displayed a capacity to defend admirably at times this term, but mostly those displays have come in Europe, as shown by Squawka:
Atletico Madrid have won more tackles than any other Champions League side this season (226). Barcelona are their nearest rivals on 199.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 30, 2014
Getafe, meanwhile, tread a far creakier path and, after winning just two of their last 20 matches, are at serious risk of falling back into the relegation spots this weekend.
There is a silver lining for El Geta, who have managed to keep a clean sheet in each of their two most recent fixtures, their 1-0 win over Malaga last weekend bringing a particular boost of morale to the squad.
As The Guardian's Sid Lowe states, Getafe are facing a Barcelona side with a hop in their own step following last weekend's 3-2 win at Villarreal:
Barcelona's win: Bad for Atletico, good for Madrid, terrible for Getafe— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) April 27, 2014
If Getafe are to have any chance of turning their fortunes at the Camp Nou, attack is a high priority in terms of improvement, considering Cosmin Contra's men have netted just once in their last four matches.
Marc Bartra vs. Adrian Colunga
Thanks to Ciprian Marica's sending off in the victory over Malaga last Saturday, Adrian Colunga will share a greater deal of the attacking workload against Barcelona.
Opta shows that Romanian Marica at least broke a sort of drought with his 38th-minute red card:
36 – Marica’s red card is the earliest for Getafe in La Liga since Moya against Deportivo on 02/02/2013 (10 minutes). Ten— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 26, 2014
Colunga's task may be made all the more difficult considering Marc Bartra enjoyed an impressive outing against Villarreal last weekend, WhoScored.com recognising the centre-back's achievements halfway through their encounter:
Villarreal 1-0 Barcelona HT: Top rated players - Bartra (7.5), Cani (7.3), Jokic (7.0), Mario / Pereira (6.9)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 27, 2014
Bartra has been used alongside Gerard Pique as Martino's budding staple in the middle of defence, and Getafe's goal-shy stretch of late makes for an easier night's work as far as the hosts' back line will be concerned.
It was Colunga who netted Getafe's 1-0 winner against Malaga, their first time hitting the back of the net in 279 minutes of regulation action.
However, Barcelona now need to make a statement of their own by clinching a clean sheet—which would be their first since March 29—and Bartra's head-to-head against Colunga, likely to be fielded as a lone striker, will be of vital significance.