La Liga: Title And Relegation To Be Decided In Tense Final Gameweek
Virtually everything from the winners of the league title to the sides who will be relegated to the Second Division will be decided over two dramatic days in the last round of games in the Spanish BBVA Primera Liga this weekend.
If Barca lose or draw then Real Madrid need a victory against a rival coached by former Real Madrid player, Victor Sanchez, as Barcelona have a one point lead in the table and have the better head-to-head goal difference.
Barca are at full strength against a Granada side that has nothing to play for after avoiding relegation last weekend with a ‘surprise’ 4-1 win away to Sevilla. Real Madrid are without Lucas Vazquez and have a doubt over the fitness of Gareth Bale for their trip to La Coruna.
Saturday will also decide who finishes fifth and sixth in the table, which could be important for avoiding an extra preliminary round in the Europa League.
Celta Vigo have a one-point advantage over sixth place Athletic Club Bilbao and will assure fifth spot if they win away to Atletico Madrid, whose title chances disappeared with their 2-1 defeat to Levante a week ago.
Atletico looked exhausted in that game, but with a fortnight until the Champions League final, coach, Diego Simeone needs to ensure his players do not see their match fitness slip over the coming weeks.
If Celta lose in the Vicente Calderon, Athletic will finish fifth in they draw against a Sevilla side who have failed to win away in the league all season, but who did win in Bilbao in the Europa League.
No matter the final result, it will be an emotive evening in Bilbao as Athletic say ‘goodbye’ to much respected captain, Carlos Gurpegui, who is hanging up his boots after 19 years at the club.
Sunday switches focus to the battle to avoid relegation with Getafe, Sporting Gijon and Rayo Vallecano all in the mix.
Getafe have improved drastically since the arrival of Juan Eduardo Esnaider as coach and will be safe if they can win away to Betis, who have nothing to play for,
If Getafe fail to win then victory for Sporting Gijon at home to Villarreal would see the side from the north of Spain assure their salvation, while Rayo need both of their rivals to slip up and to win their home match against already relegated Levante in order to survive.
The issue is further complicated by the fact that Villarreal coach Marcelino Garcia is a former Sporting Gijon player and coach and has publically said he hopes his former club can survive., while Betis announced Gustavo Poyet as their new coach during the week, meaning that Sunday will be Juan Merino’ s last game in charge after helping the club to a relatively comfortable 14th place in the league.
All of this is certain to give commentators in Spain plenty to talk about, before, during and probably after, what promises to be a thrilling last weekend in the season.