MADRID, Sep 20 (Reuters) The contrasting fortunes of Barcelona and Sevilla in their midweek Champions League matches sets up an intriguing Primera Liga clash between the sides at the Nou Camp on Saturday.
Barca, who had two goalless draws and a win to their name in the league, beat Olympique Lyon 3-0 at home, while Sevilla, who had scored eight in two league victories, lost 3-0 away to Arsenal.
Barca coach Frank Rijkaard has received a lot of criticism for his side's lacklustre start to the season, but as usual sought to play down the idea his team had finally found their feet.
''It's only one game. We have to continue working and make even bigger efforts to continue developing as a team,'' he said after Wednesday's win.
Against Lyon, Barca showed an eagerness and hunger that had been missing in their opening games with Lionel Messi the lightning conductor.
France striker Thierry Henry broke his duck and the controversial decision to substitute Ronaldinho again played dividends this time with youngsters Giovani dos Santos and Bojan Krkic providing a welcome boost at the end of the game.
It remains to be seen whether they can repeat the high-octane attacking soccer on Saturday, but an overlooked positive was their third clean sheet in four matches.
Their opponents, who are second in the standings with a game in hand, are licking their wounds after being given a tough introduction to the Champions League by Arsenal.
But Juande Ramos's side have proven they can recover quickly from such reverses, and beat Barca twice in three meetings last year.
WINNING STREAK Leaders Real Madrid, who are three points clear at the top after only three games, will be looking to extend their winning streak to five in all competitions, when they visit promoted Valladolid on Sunday.
Bernd Schuster's side have a 100 percent record in the league and beat Werder Bremen 2-1 in their Champions League opener on Tuesday.
Third-placed Valencia, and under-fire coach Quique Sanchez Flores, visit Real Betis.
UEFA Cup contenders Real Zaragoza, Atletico Madrid and Getafe are all in search of their first victories after disappointing starts.
Atletico and Zaragoza in particular were expected to be challenging for a top four finish this season.
Heavy-spenders Atletico are at home to a resilient Racing Santander who are yet to lose, while Zaragoza are at home to Osasuna. Getafe receive Deportivo Coruna.
Basement side Levante have not managed a goal in three matches and have home advantage against another team who struggled against relegation last year, winless Athletic Bilbao.
Reuters BJR GC1437