The penultimate day of La Liga will see drama and tension, especially among the sides scrambling to avoid relegation. Here are four things to look out for on what promises to be a dramatic Sunday evening in Spain.
1. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ISSUES TO RESOLVE
A win for Real Sociedad away to Atletico Madrid will see the team from San Sebastian play in next season’s Champions League, but that won’t be easy against a rival that uncharacteristically let a three-goal lead slip away to Espanyol in midweek. Atletico coach Diego Simeone will expect better from his players in the Metropolitano Stadium and that complicates life for the visitors.
Villarreal have an outside chance of finishing fourth, and they visit Rayo Vallecano, who have nothing to play for.
Expect Rayo to try to end their home campaign with some attacking football, which should guarantee an entertaining game. It should also suit Villarreal’s pacy attack, especially Nicolas Jackson, who has gone from almost joining Bournemouth in January to being the club’s top scorer with 11 goals – nine of which have come since the start of April.
2. CLOSE FOR THE CONFERENCE
Osasuna’s 2-0 win at home to Athletic Bilbao put them in pole position to qualify for next season’s UEFA Conference League, but they have two tough games to end the season with, starting with a visit to Getafe.
Defeat in Pamplona means Athletic, who are missing key players, have to win their final home game against already-relegated Elche, but they should be wary of a side that has improved drastically in recent weeks and took a point off Sevilla on Tuesday night.
Girona will fancy their chances at home to Real Betis, who themselves need just a point to confirm their place in next season’s UEFA Europa League, while Sevilla also have a chance of seventh place, but are likely to rest key players ahead of next week’s Europa League final, which carries the bigger prize of a spot in next season’s Champions League.
3. EXPECT HIGH TENSION IN VALENCIA
Valencia’s 1-0 win at home to Real Madrid last week will be remembered for the racist insults directed at Vinicius Jr rather than the game itself, although the three points mean Valencia go into Sunday’s game at home to Espanyol with a two-point cushion over the bottom three and five more than their opponents.
The insults at Vinicius mean part of Valencia’s ground will be closed for Sunday’s match (and the first two games of next season), with the club claiming the punishment is excessive for the actions of a minority of supporters.
Expect some protests from the stands which will only add to the tension for a game where Valencia can ensure their survival, while anything other than a win would leave Espanyol on the brink of relegation.
4. FURTHER NERVES IN RELEGATION DOGFIGHT
Sunday sees further head-to-head clashes in the relegation dogfight as Cadiz will look to their home form to see them safe at home to Celta Vigo. A run of one win in 11 games has seen Celta drop from having a chance of qualifying for Europe to struggling to stay up, and the club doesn’t look as mentally prepared as their rivals near the bottom.
Almeria have won their last two home games, and if they make it three from three that would probably be enough to keep them up, but it would spell disaster for Real Valladolid, who must have thought this week’s win at home to Barcelona would take them out of the bottom three.
And finally, Getafe take on Osasuna without top scorer Enes Unal, who tore his cruciate knee ligament away to Betis on Wednesday. Expect coach Jose Bordalas to try and ensure that as little football as possible is played in a game that is unlikely to be for the purists.