The Andalucians will be keen to kickstart their revolution while the Basque giants will be seeking maximum points for a push for Europe...
Malaga may be in severe danger of suffering relegation from the Spanish Primera Division this campaign but the Andalucians have been the main talking point so far this January transfer market session.
Los Boquerones have made some sensational signings, with the likes of Martin Demichelis, Sergio Asenjo, Enzo Maresca, Ignacio Camacho and Julio Baptista all been recruited in an effort to improve the team both in the short term and in the long run.
The Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani-owned club are just three points above the relegation zone, having mustered just 16 points from 17 matches. The immediate plan is to see that Malaga's results and league position improve and with former Villarreal and Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini in charge, there is every likelihood that this will be so. As a matter of fact, Malaga have already won in the new year, as they got the better of Sporting in Gijon last weekend.
On Wednesday, though, Malaga went down 3-0 to Sevilla to confirm their exit from the Copa del Rey and on Saturday against Basque giants Athletic Bilbao they will be keen to bounce back. Malaga have a wretched home form as they have won two and lost six league encounters at La Rosaleda and also have the division's worst defensive record, having shipped in 36 goals.
Pushing For Europe
Traditionalists Athletic Bilbao's start to the new year has been disappointing as they have failed to win either of their matches in the first week of 2011. At the weekend the Basque side went down 2-1 to Deportivo La Coruna at San Mames in the Spanish Primera Division and then went out of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday after being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Barcelona in the second-leg of their Round of 16 tie.
However, the Lions are just two points off a European spot with 25 points from 17 matches. Currently perched on eighth spot, Athletic are very much in the running for a Europa League and that will be their main objective for the rest of the season.
Joaquin Caparros' side have a poor form away from home, though, as they have collected just seven points from a possible 24. Interestingly, along with fellow Basque side Real Sociedad, Athletic have the worst defensive record on the road in the championship as they have shipped in no fewer than 20 goals.
Eliseu is suspended for the visit of Athletic Bilbao.
Ibai Gomez and Jon Aurtenetxe are long-term injury concerns while Markel Susaeta is doubtful. Aldekoaotalora Ustaritz is suspended.