The most exciting league in Europe reaches its final two matchdays with Atlético de Madrid, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona separated by just four points after some thrilling midweek action.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico de Madrid have sat atop the LaLiga Santander standings for much of the season but with just a handful of games to go the title race couldn’t be tighter. Incredibly, just two points separate Atleti from the reigning champions Real Madrid, with FC Barcelona just four points and still in with a chance of snatching the title. Sevilla were in contention until this week too, only to fall away right at the last minute; nevertheless, they remain close to beating their all-time points record as well as the fourth-place points record in LaLiga history.
“Neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona will lose another match,” Simeone predicted in early March, but we’ve already seen so many shock results this LaLiga Santander campaign that this has proved to most definitely not be the case. Barcelona had the perfect chance to go top two weeks ago, only to lose their game in hand at home to a sensational Granada CF side and fail to beat Atleti in what was a title six-pointer last weekend. Ronald Koeman’s men let another two points slip in the final minutes despite against Levante UD in midweek (3-3) despite being 2-0 up at half-time. Real Madrid had narrowed the gap to just one point after winning ElClasico three weekends ago, but then failed to capitalise after being held draws by Getafe CF, Real Betis and title rivals Sevilla last weekend.
Here’s all you need to know about the final stretch of the title race: who’s involved, where they stand, the games they have left… so you can judge for yourself where you think points, and ultimately the LaLiga title, will be won and lost.
Atlético de Madrid
Current position: 1st (80 points)
Next fixture: CA Osasuna (home), Sunday 16th May – 6:30pm CEST
Remaining fixture: Real Valladolid (away)
The last time Atleti won LaLiga Santander, it went down to the final day as they took the 2013/14 title with a draw away against Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Given how tight this title race promises to be, it could go down to the wire once again. This year, their Matchday 38 fixture is away at Real Valladolid, who could well need points in the relegation battle.
Simeone’s side have seen their previously big lead slowly narrow at the top, but remain top despite dropping points on two successive weekends, albeit against very tough opposition: first Athletic Club, then FC Barcelona last weekend. Their thrilling 2-1 win over Real Sociedad on Wednesday saw them suffer until the final whistle but was a crucial result. It means that Simeone’s team continue to hold their destiny in their own hands. Win out, and they win LaLiga Santander for the first time since 2014. If they win this weekend, and Real Madrid don’t beat Athletic Club, they could even be confirmed as champions this Sunday.
Current position: 2nd (78 points)
Next fixture: Athletic Club (away), Sunday 16th May – 6:30pm CEST
Remaining fixture: Villarreal CF (home)
Real Madrid come into the final two games of the season very much in contention despite only salvaging a last-minute draw against Sevilla last weekend, two points behind leaders and city rivals Atleti after a big 4-1 win against Granada CF on Thursday. A dramatic 2-1 win over FC Barcelona some weekends ago saw them leapfrog their eternal rivals into second, but a series of draws, first against Getafe CF and more recently against Real Betis and Sevilla in recent weeks has seen the reigning champions stutter in their title defence.
After beating Granada away, they still face a tough run-in: Copa del Rey runner-up Athletic Club and Europa League finalist Villarreal CF.
Current position: 3rd (76 points)
Next fixture: RC Celta (home), Sunday 16th May – 6:30pm CEST
Remaining fixture: SD Eibar (away)
Ronald Koeman’s side have had various opportunities to move top of the standings in recent weeks, but their inconsistency sees them stuck in third. They could have gone top with a win over Granada two weeks ago, only to fall to a 2-1 defeat to the Andalusians, one of the surprise packages of this LaLiga season. And just last weekend, Barça could have moved ahead of Atleti with a win against the leaders at the Camp Nou but couldn’t break the deadlock in a 0-0 stalemate. That result, combined with the 3-3 draw against Levante UD on Tuesday night sees them stay in third, four points behind the leaders with only two games remaining.
This weekend they face a challenging duel against in-form RC Celta, who have won their last four games and, in the process, revived their European aspirations.