A mouthwatering showdown between two giants of the Spanish game takes place at Camp Nou on Wednesday evening as Barcelona play host to Real Sociedad.
Els Blaugranes enjoyed a 1-0 win over Levante in their most recent fixture, while Sociedad still lead the way at the top of the table despite dropping points against Eibar.
Barcelona's narrow victory over Levante was not pretty by any stretch, but it was a win. Ronald Koeman's men desperately needed the three points and they got just that, with the Blaugrana boss indebted to his talisman once again.
Speculation surrounding Lionel Messi's future will not cease so long as he continues to run down the final few months of his deal, but the six-time Ballon d'Or winner struck the only goal of the game in the second half to propel Barca to a much-needed triumph in the Spanish top flight.
The Catalan giants were outclassed on their own turf by Juventus in the Champions League prior to the win over Levante - and Koeman's side now face a behemoth of a showdown with Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 - while newly-promoted Cadiz also enjoyed a memorable win over the Blaugrana earlier this month.
However, Koeman's men will be determined to kickstart a run of wins following their recent success over Levante, with Barcelona currently eighth in the table - five points off the top four as things stand.
Further home victories over Real Betis and Osasuna means that Barcelona are out to secure a fourth straight win at Camp Nou this weekend, although Sociedad are sure to have a thing or two to say about that.
Sociedad are becoming renowned for their stalemates in recent weeks, with the league leaders drawing their sixth game in a row in all competitions with a 1-1 against Eibar.
Ander Barrenetxea's opener was cancelled out by Sergi Enrich's second-half equaliser at the Reale Arena, but second-placed Atletico Madrid were unable to take advantage of Sociedad's slip-up as they suffered defeat in the derby against Real Madrid.
Sociedad and Atletico have both accrued 26 points this season, although Atletico do have two games in hand, and Sociedad's 23 goals scored compared to their rivals' 21 is the only thing keeping Imanol Alguacil's atop the rankings for now.
The La Liga leaders learned their fate in the Europa League last-32 stage on Monday, and Sociedad play in the pick of the ties as they have been drawn against Manchester United, who dropped down from the Champions League.
For now, though, Sociedad will simply be thinking of ways to stop Barcelona in their tracks and remain on their perch by the close of play this week, with Wednesday's visitors winless against La Blaugrana since the 2015-16 campaign.
Barcelona La Liga form: DWLWLW
Barcelona form (all competitions): WWWLLW
Real Sociedad La Liga form: WWWDDD
Real Sociedad form (all competitions): DDDDDD
Barcelona confirmed before the Levante encounter that Ousmane Dembele had suffered yet another injury, and the Frenchman will miss out here with that latest hamstring problem.
Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati and Sergi Roberto are all sidelined for the long term, with the latter recently testing positive for coronavirus as he recovers from a thigh problem.
Samuel Umtiti is finally back in the fold and pushing for a start at centre-back, while Pedri was given a 30-minute run out against Levante and, having impressed, could be in line for a start in this one.
Sociedad are plagued by injuries as well, with Aritz Elustondo struggling with rib problems and set to watch this one from the sidelines.
The highly-rated Mikel Oyarzabal is also unlikely to feature as he nurses a muscle injury, and while David Silva was fit enough to come off the bench at the weekend, he may not be ready to start just yet.
Portu and Adnan Januzaj will both be expected to feature from the first whistle at Camp Nou, while Nacho Monreal and Martin Zubimendi could be in line for starting roles too.
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, De Jong; Griezmann, Pedri, Coutinho; Messi
Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Remiro; Gorosabel, Le Normand, Sagnan, Monreal; Merino, Zubimendi; Portu, Lopez, Janzuaj; Jose
Source: Sports Mole / Ben Knapton