Girona can push ahead in the La Liga race with title rivals Saudi Arabia taking on the Super Cup

Girona will aim to continue their surprise title challenge when they visit lowly Almeria to start the second half of the 2023-24 La Liga season on Sunday.

While Real Madrid compete for the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia, Girona have a chance to move ahead of their rivals in the chase for the Spanish League title.

Girona aims to continue its surprising challenge for the title when it visits modest Almeria at the start of the second half of the league season on Sunday.

The Catalan club, which is part-owned by Abu Dhabi-based Manchester City and coached by Michel Sanchez, is level on points with Real Madrid at the top of the table.

Girona has recorded 15 wins, including recent victories over both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, in 19 rounds only losing once, to Madrid in September. These wins over perennial rivals Girona helped open a seven-point lead over Barcelona and 10 over Atletico.

Meanwhile, Almeria is at the bottom of the standings after not achieving a win in all 19 rounds in its first season after returning to the First Division.

Girona has seven wins and two draws on the road and leads the league in scoring with 46 goals – six more than Madrid – with Ukrainian striker Artem Dubek leading this team with 11 goals.

While Michel’s team has proven to be rich in previously undiscovered talent, its defense has been weakened by seemingly minor injuries to Eric Garcia and David Lopez.

“We have a strong enough team to compete in two competitions,” Michel said after the 2-0 victory over Elche on Sunday and qualification to the round of 16 of the King’s Cup. “We are not obligated to win either, but we are motivated to achieve both,” he added.

Real Madrid are set to play in the Spanish Super Cup final against Barcelona or Osasuna after beating Atletico 5-3 after extra time in Riyadh on Wednesday. Barcelona will play Osasuna in the other semi-final match on Thursday. The Super Cup participants will play their postponed league matches for this round within three weeks.

Basque derby
Athletic Bilbao hosts Real Sociedad in the Basque Country derby on Saturday, with the two regional rivals close to the top of the standings and both missing important players due to international competitions.

Sociedad will miss the prominent playmaker, as Japanese striker Takefusa Kubo will play in the Asian Cup in Qatar. Malian defender Hamari Traoré and Nigerian striker Omar Sadiq will also miss the African Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

Bilbao will be without striker Iñaki Williams, who is also participating in the African Cup and plays for Ghana.

Bilbao is quietly enjoying an excellent season and has risen to fourth place, equal on points with Atletico and in the mix of Champions League qualifying places that go to the top four.

Meanwhile, Sociedad are just six points behind in sixth place and need to avoid losing to their top rivals to stay close to the Champions League places.