Las Palmas v Real Madrid Saturday, 17:30 Live on Sky Sports Mix and Betfair Live Video
The international break arrived at an inconvenient juncture for Real Madrid, who were just beginning to build up a head of steam. The 6-3 success over Girona was their ninth win in 10 games, and with Paris Saint-Germain among their victims (twice over), there is a growing feeling that there could yet be a happy ending to a mixed season.
Juventus are hardly dream opponents, of course, and the trip to Turin on Tuesday will no doubt shape Zinedine Zidane's thinking this weekend. The Frenchman will have been delighted that all of his players made it through the last fortnight unscathed, and there's every chance that he will leave a number of them at home as Madrid head to Gran Canaria. This game simply isn't a priority.
That brings the goalscorer market into play, with back-up striker Borja Mayoral the most compelling option in the likely event that he starts. The 20-year-old only has five goals to his name this season, but he's started just six games and will be hopeful of making a mark against the division's second-worst defence.
Las Palmas have shown some fighting spirit in recent weeks, picking up points against Valencia, Athletic Club and Barcelona, but it looks like being too little, too late as far as the battle against the drop is concerned. Paco Jémez's charges just don't have enough cutting edge in attack, and may struggle here even if Zidane plays only squad players and kids.
Barcelona can maintain winning run
Sevilla v Barcelona Saturday, 19:45 Live on Sky Sports Football and Betfair Live Video
Sevilla have an abysmal recent league record against Barcelona (one win and 16 defeats in the last 21 meetings) and there's no reason to upset the apple cart when they welcome the Catalans to the Sánchez Pizjuán on Saturday night.
The Rojiblancos have been impressive in Europe and will be looking forward to the midweek visit of Bayern Munich, but their league form has been decidedly iffy. They've only won two in five and have been on the wrong end of some eye-catching results since the arrival of Vincenzo Montella: a 5-1 reversal at Eibar, a 5-2 home defeat to Atleti. They were poor against Leganés before the international break, and they could really do without this dress rehearsal for the Copa del Rey final.
Barça made short work of Chelsea and Athletic before the pause, and look in fantastic shape. Yes, there is a small asterisk to be added here, regarding the fitness of Lionel Messi, who sat out both of Argentina's friendlies, but he returned to training on Thursday and is expected to be available here. Whether Valverde risks him is another matter; one suspects that another afternoon off might be on the cards.
Barça should be fine either way, with Philippe Coutinho and Paco Alcácer ready to shoulder some of the attacking burden, and the defence getting more solid by the week (five straight clean sheets coming into this game). The same cannot be said of Sevilla and, with Bayern on the horizon, they are likely to come unstuck.
Toothless Depor no match for Atleti
Atlético Madrid v Deportivo La Coruña Sunday, 19:45 Live on Sky Sports Football and Betfair Live Video
Atlético Madrid are also in European action in midweek - albeit in the Europa League rather than the Champions League - but they still look solid bets to take care of business against Deportivo La Coruña, even without the suspended Antoine Griezmann.
Los Colchoneros are a force to be reckoned with at the Wanda Metropolitano: they are unbeaten in their new home in the league, with only four teams even managing a goal as visitors so far. The last five wins (and nine of 10 overall) have been to nil, which does not bode well for a toothless Depor side.
Clarence Seedorf has helped the Galicians tighten up a bit at home - three draws on the spin - but the story has been different on the road, with two goals scored in eight away games. That is likely to become two in nine against Diego Simeone's frugal fighters.
Back Borja Mayoral to score for Real Madrid against Las Palmas at 2.50
Back Barcelona -0.5 & -1.0 against Sevilla at 2.06
Back Atlético Madrid to beat Deportivo to nil at 8/11 (Sportsbook)