Barcelona take on Real Madrid at the Camp Nou on Sunday evening but there is plenty more to keep an eye on in this La Liga weekend than just El Clasico…
1) Valencia can secure Champions League qualification
Los Che are without a win in four games and have yet to secure their place in next season’s Champions League. However, they do lead Real Betis by eight points with just three matches remaining. For Marcelino’s side to miss out on a top four spot, they would need to lose each of their final three games with Betis taking maximum points. Should Betis fail to win at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday afternoon, Valencia’s qualification is sealed. Should Quique Setien’s men win, Los Che would secure the place with a victory against Villarreal later that day.
2) Galician derby with local pride to play for
Deportivo are down but they will hope to sign out of La Liga on a high note as they travel to Galician rivals Celta Vigo on Saturday. The hosts are without star striker Iago Aspas while record signing Emre Mor has been banished due to disciplinary issues. Celta Coach Juan Carlos Unzue is set to be dismissed at the end of the season, according to reports, and Depor may be the more motivated of the two. This could be Clarence Seedorf’s chance to significantly heighten his managerial credentials and popularity among Depor fans.
3) Atleti to suffer Europa League hangover?
Diego Simeone’s side are through to another European final – their fifth in eight years and may well ease up in their remaining La Liga outings. They host Espanyol this Sunday, just three days after a physically and emotionally draining encounter with Arsenal. Los Rojiblancos have just 16 fit outfield players to choose from and may hand youngsters and fringe players an opportunity to impress against the Catalans.
4) Girona and Getafe last chance for Europe?
The race for seventh, and the final qualification spot for the Europa League, is hotting up. Sevilla’s win over Real Sociedad on Friday moved them two points clear of Getafe and three of Girona, with just three matches remaining for each side. This weekend sees Girona host Eibar with Getafe travelling to already-relegated Las Palmas. Both sides may view they situation as must-win matches if they are to harbour genuine hopes of playing European football next campaign.
5) El Clasico may be decaffeinated, but it always matters
Spanish media have described the weekend clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid as ‘decaffeinated’. After all, Barca have wrapped up top spot and Zinedine Zidane’s side languishing in third. However, Ernesto Valverde’s side are four games away from an unprecedented unbeaten league season while Madrid will be hoping for another big performance ahead of the Champions League final later this month. Unlike other classic rivalries, this clash always produces the goods with no shortage of controversy, drama and entertainment.