- It has been a chastening fortnight for Spanish football on the international front as the Spain national side failed to qualify for the Final Four of the UEFA Nations League and then struggled to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina in a friendly game, but the return of domestic competition this weekend promises to provide plenty of reasons to forget international disappointments.
Alaves will momentarily go top of the table on Friday night if they win away to third from bottom Leganes, with Aberlado Fernandez's side welcoming Fernando Pacheco back in goal after injury.
Much of the weekend's interest is on Saturday when Barcelona travel to the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium to face Atletico Madrid, while Real Madrid face the always difficult visit to Eibar's Ipurua Stadium.
Barca play Atletico following their 4-3 home defeat to Betis in a game where their rivals always looked to attack Barca and caught them time and again on the break to expose gaps in the league leader's defense.
Atletico tend to favor a more defensive option and sit deep, but certainly have the talent to push forward and it remains to be seen if Diego Simeone, who is without defenders Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin, will take a leaf out of the Betis copybook or stay true to more defensive minded type.
Barca will be without the suspended Ivan Rakitic, with Arturo Vidal likely to replace him in midfield and coach Ernesto Valverde will be looking for his side to show personality after their surprise setback a fortnight ago.
Saturday also sees Real Madrid's first game since Santiago Solari was confirmed as full time coach after steering his side to four wins as a stand-in for the sacked Julen Lopetegui.
Rafael Varane, Dani Carvajal and Marcelo return after injury, but Nacho Fernandez and Casemiro are out, with the Brazilian an important absentee against a rival that can be expected to compete for every ball, even though they have failed to beat Madrid in eight top-flight meetings.
Saturday also sees Valencia look for their first home win of the season when second from bottom Rayo Vallecano visit the Mestalla Stadium, with that game followed by bottom of the table Huesca (who are also without a triumph in front of their fans in their first season in the Liga Santander) playing at home to Levante, who have three away wins this campaign.
If Leganes take a point on Friday then Athletic Club Bilbao will be in the relegation zone when they play Getafe on Sunday lunchtime. The Basques have not won since the opening game of the season and desperately need to turn decent performances into points.
Sevilla could go top (depending on Saturday's results) when they play Valladolid in the Sanchez Pizjuan, but Pablo Mafeo's side can expect to work hard to beat a side that has lost just one of their last 8 games.
There is a Catalan derby as Girona take their unbeaten away record to face fifth placed Espanyol, who have won all of their home games this season, while Betis will attempt to show their win in the Camp Nou was not just a one-off when they visit under pressure Villarreal.
The round of matches ends on Monday with Miguel Cardoso making his debut as Celta coach away to Real Sociedad who are still looking for their first win of the season in their reformed Anoeta Stadium.