Barcelona's Lionel Messi
Barcelona's Lionel MessiReuters

In the build-up to one of the biggest games of the La Liga season so far - Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon - both camps have insisted on one particular aspect - the game is not a final, or a title-decider, just another league game, albeit an extremely important one.

Where to Watch Live

The game is scheduled for a 8 pm local time (12.30 am IST Sunday morning) start with live coverage on Star Sports HD1 and Star Sports 4. The match can also be live streamed online HERE. Catch the action live online in the US HERE courtesy Bein Sports Play. The game will be shown live on Sky Sports 4 in the UK, with the live streaming option HERE. North Africa and Middle East viewers can catch the action HERE, while audience in the rest of Africa can live stream the match HERE.

Nothing has separated Atletico and Barcelona this season, with both sides locked at the top of the table on 49 points each. A win for either team, and they just could begin breaking free from the rest of the chasing pack.

"There's still half a season to go and I can't see it as being a game that decides the league -- though I do think it's important for both teams immediate future, both domestically and in Europe," Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino said. "It's important in psychological terms.

"They are a very strong team -- one of the most serious and solid sides in Europe. It looks like we're in for a great game. We are much better, both collectively and as individuals, than five months ago when we played them in the Super Cup. Atletico Madrid have kept playing at a great level since then."

Atletico manager Diego Simeone echoed those sentiments. "We are talking about a very important league game, but it remains a league match, not a final," the Argentine said. "They have a great squad, with large variations. We try to play our game and improve with what we've got."

Simeone believes Barcelona start as favourites, despite Atletico holding their own against the Spanish champions in the Super Cup at the beginning of the season.

"Tomorrow's game is a different game from the player's in term of the motivation they usually have," Simeone added on Friday. "We accept the reality, they have better players, but we are committed to the team. In that game we feel strong. That's one of the possibilities that bring us to compete tomorrow.

"[The game will be] similar to the Super Cup, our team better occupying the spaces so that they do not have space to play in."

Team news: Atletico Madrid: Leo Baptistao and Mario Suarez remain sidelined for Atletico, but defender Diego Godin could return after being called up to the squad.

Barcelona: Lionel Messi made a scoring return in the Copa Del Rey in midweek, and could start against Atletico. "Messi is fine -- everybody saw that in midweek," Martino said. "However, he's had a long time out and we'll have to decide whether he's ready yet to play 90 minutes of such a demanding match.

"We can't forget that he's been out for 60 days and only played 30 minutes. I've not spoken with Messi about it yet, though I do talk a lot to him, though the most he could say is that he feels fit enough to start if we need him."

The likes of Xavi, Dani Alves and Marc Bartra return to the squad after missing the Cup encounter.

Key men: Atletico Madrid: Diego Costa will be the player that the home side turn to for goals, and the Brazil-born striker will need to make full use of every chance presented to him.

Barcelona: Messi showed he has not missed a beat against Getafe, coming on for the final half hour and grabbing himself a brace. The Little Argentine will want to mark his full return from injury with another typically brilliant master class against one of the best sides in La Liga.

Expected lineups: Atletico Madrid: Courtois; Juanfran, Alderweireld, Miranda, Luis; Tiago, Koke, Turan, Torres; Costa, Villa.

Barcelona: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Bartra, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Neymar.

Prediction: 2-2

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