Some things to know about the Spanish league
Aug. 28, 2014
MADRID (AP) — After an opening draw, Atletico Madrid again will be searching for its first win of the season without coach Diego Simeone on the sidelines.
Atletico hosts Eibar in the Spainsh league on Saturday.
The other two title contenders, Real Madrid and Barcelona, are both on the road. Barcelona visits Villarreal and Madrid travels to Real Sociedad.
Here are some things to know about the second round of the Spanish league:
Once again, it will be assistant coach German Burgos who will stand in for Simeone when Atletico plays.
Simeone is still serving an eight-game suspension after dissenting with the referee during his team's Spanish Super Cup win against Real Madrid.
Nicknamed "Monkey," Burgos is a burly former goalkeeper from Argentina who knows Simeone well. They were teammates at club and national squad level before becoming his coaching assistant at Catania in 2011.
DI MARIA-LESS MADRID
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has some tweaking to do now that Angel Di Maria has transferred to Manchester United.
Last season's Champions League winning 4-3-3 lineup relied heavily on the Argentina attacking midfielder and now Ancelotti must ensure his team's front line — made up of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale — continues to receive through-balls.
To succeed, Ancelotti needs to find where best to deploy James Rodriguez, who has to fit in alongside Luka Modric, but the Italian has yet to decide which flank is best suited to the Colombia forward.
Although Iker Casillas has regained his position as first-choice goalkeeper, Madrid's captain is far from exuding confidence.
His bad World Cup outings, poor pre-season game against Manchester United and doubtful performance against Atletico in the Super Cup have led to doubts.
Ancelotti has worked to restore Casillas' self-esteem and named him keeper for Spanish league and Champions League matches.
BARCELONA'S BIG GUNS
An injury to Neymar's left ankle led Barcelona coach Luis Enrique to test a hunch and go with Munir El Haddadi last week.
The 18-year-old forward scored in his first Spanish league match.
Should Neymar be fit for the match against Villarreal, Luis Enrique will be spoiled for choice by also knowing that Lionel Messi is back to world-class form after scoring twice to help 10-man Barcelona start the season with a 3-0 win over Elche.