Atletico Madrid
Defending Spanish Champions Atletico Madrid will have to settle with a Champions League position in the La Liga this seasonReuters

Defending Spanish Champions Atletico Madrid take on Valencia at the Vicente Calderón Stadium on Sunday as they look to improve their position in the La Liga.

Atletico's hopes of successfully defending the La Liga title may be all but over as they currently in third place seven points behind leader Real Madrid.

Despite managing to beat their Madrid rivals in both home and away in the La Liga this season, defeats to smaller sides including Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Celta Vigo have cost them.

Atletico will only be able to go to the top of the La Liga, if Real Madrid and Barcelona unexpectedly lose a lot of points in the closing stages of the season.

Considering that this scenario is highly unlikely, Diego Simeone's men will have to be content with a Champions League spot this season.

However, even for that Atletico will have to concentrate a lot as they still have a lot of tough fixtures remaining in the La Liga.

And Atletico boss Simeone admits that this fixture against Valencia, who were able to beat them in the reverse La Liga fixture at the Mestalla Stadium earlier this season, "isn't just another game."

"This isn't just another game," Simeone told Inside Spanish Football. "It's a game against a direct rival that has been our competition for third place since the start of the season. It's not just another game.

"Valencia are a very competitive team. We've said that Sevilla and Valencia were going to be our main competition. In midfield they have high-quality players with great vision.

"Javi Fuego gives them balance and they have two full backs that are almost always forwards. And all of this with a solid defence. The team is doing well and has helped them win four games in a row."

Meanwhile, Valencia will be hoping to do a double over Atletico Madrid when they face the defending Spanish Champions at the Vicente Calderón on Sunday.

Los Che have a very good chance of overtaking Simeone's men in the La Liga on Sunday as they are only a point behind Atletico in third place in the La Liga.

Following their defeat to Malaga on 2 February, Valencia have been very impressive, recording four consecutive victories over Espanyol, Getafe, Cordoba and Real Sociedad.

Although Valencia are up against the defending Spanish champions on Sunday, and manager Nuno Espírito Santo says that his side are excited to take on Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

"We're going to compete against the league champions and that fills us with enthusiasm. We're prepared and conscious of the task ahead. They're a top team. They have a great manager, and first class players," Nuno told Inside Spanish Football.

Expected Line-ups:

Atletico Madrid: Moya; Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Gamez; Gabi, Tiago, Suarez; Garcia, Mandzukic, Turan

Valencia: Alves; Barragan, Mustafi, Otamendi, Gaya; Fuego, Perez, Parejo; Feghouli, Negredo, Piatti

Where to watch live

The La Liga match is set to begin at 9pm local time (1:30am IST, 8pm GMT, 3pm ET) with live coverage in India on Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD4. Viewers in India can also catch all the action via live streaming online on

Viewers in the UK can catch all the action on Sky Sports 5 and Sky Sports 5 HD, while the option to live stream is on Sky Go. The Barcelona vs Rayo game will be shown live in the US and Canada on Bein Sports USA and Bein Sports Canada respectively with the live streaming option on Bein Sports Connect.

Viewers in the Middle East and North Africa can catch the match on Bein Sports Arabia or Bein Sports Connect, while the audience in Australia can enjoy the action live on Fox Sports 4 and Foxtel Play.