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La Liga Preview: Barcelona - Malaga

Goal.com

Barcelona, which has drawn back-to-back La Liga matches, has slipped out of the top spot ahead of its match against Malaga on Sunday.

However, Barca coach Gerardo Martino is sure to be confident of his side ending the weekend as the leader, thanks to its imperious home record. The club has won 24 straight league matches at Camp Nou - a run that stretches back to October 2012, when Real Madrid claimed a 2-2 draw.

Indeed, the last time any side other than Los Blancos took something from a league visit to Barca was way back in October 2011, when Sevilla escaped with a share of the spoils courtesy of a goalless game.

Barca goes into this fixture in something of a slump by its own high standards, having drawn its last two La Liga fixtures at Atletico and Levante respectively.

The last time the Camp Nou outfit went two league games without winning was in May 2011 - and it broke that run with a 3-1 win over Malaga, which sits 14th in the table this season.

History is also very much against the visitors going into this encounter, as they have lost 11 straight league fixtures against Barca.

The absence of Brazil star Neymar, who is out with an ankle problem, aids Bernd Schuster's side, but the visitors will still have to keep Lionel Messi quiet - a task they have found difficult. Messi, recently back from a two-month layoff with a hamstring problem, has scored nine goals in his last five appearances against Malaga.

Barca will, however, have to get by without Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol, both of whom have been ruled out of the match due to injury, along with Alex Song and Martin Montoya.

Ibrahim Afellay, who was given the medical all-clear during the week, should be included in the squad.

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