This weekend sees the penultimate matchday of the LaLiga Santander season and it’s all still on the line, from the title race and European spots to all three relegation places. All 10 games will be played at 6.30pm CET on Sunday, to ensure that no team suffers a disadvantage from playing before or after one of their rivals.
In the title race, there are only three teams still in with a chance of lifting the trophy and Atlético de Madrid lead the way. They host CA Osasuna at the Wanda Metropolitano and know that a win will be huge and possibly even enough to secure the championship this very weekend. Diego Simeone won’t be thinking about that, though, and will simply want his players to focus on the task in hand.
Given that Atleti are on 80 points and given that Real Madrid follow on 78, an Atleti win and a Real Madrid failure to defeat Athletic Club in their match in Bilbao would mathematically seal Los Rojiblancos’ first league title since 2014. Real Madrid, though, just thrashed Granada CF 4-1 in midweek and aren’t waving the white flag. They’ll go to Bilbao determined to take what has been a thrilling title race to the final day.
FC Barcelona, on 76 points, still have a chance of winning LaLiga Santander too, but they must win this weekend or else they’ll enter the final matchday without the possibility of finishing top. However, it won’t be easy for Barça as they welcome RC Celta to the Camp Nou, with the Galician side having won four on the bounce as they keep pushing to try to qualify for Europe.
Villarreal CF are one of the teams currently in the European positions that Celta are trying to catch and the Yellow Submarine do have a tricky fixture this round, as they host Sevilla FC. Even if Sevilla FC no longer have the possibility of winning the title, the Andalusian club do still have a lot to play for as finishing ahead of Real Madrid would earn them entry to next year’s Spanish Super Cup.
At the bottom of LaLiga Santander, the relegation battle is really heating up as there are five points separating 15th-placed D. Alavés on 35 points from 20th-placed SD Eibar on 30. In between, Getafe CF are 16th on 34 points, SD Huesca are 17th on 33 points, Real Valladolid are 18th on 31 points and Elche CF are 19th on 30 points. Each of these six clubs have matches this weekend against sides higher up in the table, so it won’t necessarily be easy for any of them to pick up points.
SD Eibar, for example, travel to mid-table Valencia CF, where a small number of fans are expected to be in attendance. The bottom-placed side have a good record against Los Che, with five wins, four draws and four defeats from 13 top-flight meetings, and will need another good result this time out.
Elche CF will be looking to keep their survival hopes alive by visiting one of the teams they come up with from LaLiga SmartBank last season, Cádiz CF. The Andalusian side, though, have already mathematically secured survival after what has been an impressive campaign so far.
Real Valladolid must visit Europa League-chasing Real Sociedad, which is not an easy task for them as they look to snap a run of 10 matches without a victory. Meanwhile, SD Huesca will look to extend their two-point cushion to the drop zone when they go away to Real Betis, one of the teams jostling for position in the European race alongside Real Sociedad.
Getafe CF and D. Alavés both have home fixtures that they’ll consider to be winnable, with Geta host Levante UD and as the Glorioso welcome Granada CF to the Basque Country. Being at home and in familiar surroundings could be the slight advantage that these sides need to confirm their place in LaLiga Santander for next season. For now, though, it’s all about who finishes where in the 2020/21 edition and the action that kicks off at 6.30pm CEST on Sunday will go a long way to determining that.