Malalga's inconsistency on the road returned to haunt them last weekend as they put in a desperately disappointing performance to lose 1-0 to Deportivo la Coruna.
Manuel Pellegrini's men did though manage to recover to progress into the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey with a 5-2 aggregate win over Eibar in midweek, meaning they will now play Barca three times over the next 10 days.
The suspended Jesus Gamez joins Julio Baptista in being the only players unavailable to the Chilean, who must decide whether to recall Jeremy Toulalan or keep faith with Francisco Portillo in midfield.
Barcelona, meanwhile, continue to crush all before them as they swept aside Espanyol last weekend with four goals in the first half-hour and then also cruised through in the cup with a 7-0 aggregate success over Cordoba.
Indeed, should the Catalans manage to win at La Rosaleda it would mark the best ever first-half of a season in Spanish football history with the 2-2 draw with Real Madrid in October still the only points they have dropped so far this term.
Alexis Sanchez and David Villa made their case for selection with two goals each against Cordoba but both are likely to be overlooked once more as Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Pedro all return to the starting line-up after being rested in midweek.
This fixture was decided by a sublime Lionel Messi hat-trick last season as Barca ran out 4-1 winners and although Malaga have proved they can raise themselves for the big occasion this season, the way the visitors are playing it is hard to look beyond another Barcelona win.
The Catalans have won all nine of their away league games to date this season, scoring 32 goals at an average of 3.55 a game in the process, and despite Malaga having the best defensive record in the league they will need to pose a serious threat going forward themselves if they are to have any chance of taking anything from the game.
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