The 2018-19 La Liga fixtures were announced on Tuesday, with Atletico Madrid, who finished third last season, travelling to fourth-placed Valencia in the pick of the opening day’s games.
Champions Barcelona will host Basque outfit Alaves, while Real Madrid have a home tie against Getafe when the season kicks off on the weekend of August 18-19.
Other notable opening weekend fixtures see Villarreal host Real Sociedad, top division debutants Huesca visit Eibar and Celta Vigo take on Espanyol.
Following public comments from La Liga chief Javier Tebas, who said it was ‘not ideal’ for the second El Clasico meeting between Real and Barca last season to be played with the latter having already won the league title, the two sides will face off earlier this campaign.
The first El Clasico of the campaign takes place on 28 October at the Camp Nou with the return at the Bernabeu scheduled for 3March.
The Madrid derbies are always worth watching with local pride and a potential title on the line, with the first this season at the home of Real Madrid on 30September with the return scheduled for Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano on 10 February.
The Seville derby between Real Betis and Sevilla are renowned for being the most watchable games in Spain, with last season’s two meetings producing a total of 12 goals.
The first clash in Andalusia’s capital this year takes place at Estadio Benito Villamarin, the home of Real Betis on 2 September with the return at Sevilla on 13 April.
Elsewhere, the first Basque derby between Athletic Club Bilbao and Real Sociedad will take place on 7 October at Athletic’s San Mames with the return at the Anoeta on 3 February.
Opening round of fixtures, 18-21 August 2018:
- Athletic Club Bilbao v Leganes
- Real Betis v Levante
- Celta Vigo v Espanyol
- Eibar v Huesca
- Girona v Real Valladolid
- Rayo Vallecano v Sevilla
- Barcelona v Alaves
- Valencia v Atletico Madrid
- Real Madrid v Getafe
- Villarreal v Real Sociedad