La Liga 2012, Week 35 Preview And Fixtures: Is This Still Going On?

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Head coach Josep Guardiola of FC Barcelona arrives to the press conference at the Camp Nou stadium on April 27, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. Josep Guardiola has today announced he is not renewing his contract after a 4 year tenure as Head Coach of the FC Barcelona squad. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

No, the Liga is not over. I mean, we don't even know whether Rayo Vallecano will be in the top half of the table! Plus, you know, Pep Guardiola and stuff.

Real Madrid beat FC Barcelona last weekend, and have now stretched their Liga lead to seven points over their Catalan rivals. There are only 12 points, or four matches, left to be played; for Real Madrid to lose la Liga, Barcelona will have to win the rest of their games, and Madrid will have to drop more than half of the remaining points--for example, by losing to Sevilla this week, to Athletic Bilbao next week, then drawing with either Granada or Mallorca in the final two weeks. Wait, that doesn't seem impossible, does it?

Yes and no. To be honest, the title race looks to be pretty much over, though you won't hear anything like that come from the Santiago Bernabéu. Real Madrid doesn't drop points very much, and there are only four games left. But that doesn't mean that it won't be fun to watch these sides battle to the very last point--and there are still the important matters of relegation and European contention to figure out.

So soldier on, la Liga fans! There's still work to be done here.

Saturday, April 28

Getafe vs. Mallorca

18:00 CET (12:00 PM EST)

Geta and Mallorca are 11th and 12th, respectively, on the table. It's unlikely that these two sides will move off of their mid-table shelves, either to go up or down. With that in mind, I can't imagine that there's much to play for here, other than pride and individual statistics.

Pick: 2-2. Individual statistics, baby.

Levante vs. Granada

18:00 CET (12:00 PM EST)

Now this game has things to play for. Levante is currently clinging on to a European spot, while Granada is teetering on the verge of relegation. A draw might serve Granada pretty well, though they still have to take on Real Madrid, so it's possible that both sides will be playing hard for the win.

Pick: 2-1 to Levante.

Espanyol vs. Sporting Gijón

18:00 CET (12:00 PM EST)

Espanyol is playing for a spot in Europe--though they're sitting in 10th place, they're only three points below the EuroZone); Sporting is playing to not be relegated--though at six points below the safe zone, they're not looking great. Another exciting match is Sporting can hold on.

Pick: 2-3 to Sporting.

Real Sociedad vs. Racing Santander

18:00 CET (12:00 PM EST)

Ah, Racing. It was so depressing to watch them last week, as they failed to give a crap against Athletic Bilbao. I can only imagine that they will continue to not give a crap this week, as they travel to Anoeta to face la Real.

Pick: 3-0 to Real Sociedad.

Villarreal vs. Osasuna

22:00 CET (4:00 PM EST)

Another important match for both sides. With a win, Osasuna might be able to climb back into European contention; with a win, Villarreal climbs every-closer away from the drop zone (they're six points up now, but only one position). Both sides could really use a victory, and both sides will fight hard for it.

Pick: 3-2 to Villarreal.

Sunday, April 29

Real Madrid vs. Sevilla

12:00 CET (6:00 AM EST)

Real Madrid host ninth-place Sevilla, who are only a few points away from jumping back into European contention (I feel like I say that in every preview...). Unfortunately for Sevilla, this one is at the Bernabéu in Madrid, and Jose Mourinho's boys will be looking to feed off the crowd's energy to put the pressure on Barcelona. This will be a tough match on both fronts--especially after such an exhausting week for Madrid--but Sevilla have their work cut out for them.

Pick: 2-1 to Madrid.

Zaragoza vs. Athletic Bilbao

16:00 CET (10:00 AM EST)

Zaragoza will probably be relegated this season; Athletic Bilbao is a super-strong team coached by a very brilliant man. There shouldn't be much contest here, though the Basques might be hung over from celebrating their trip to the Europa League finals.

Pick: 1-3 to Bilbao.

Málaga vs. Valencia

18:00 CET (12:00 PM EST)

Another good game, and this one could have top-three implications, as Valencia will want to solidify their Champions League participation, and Málaga will look to hang on to the third place tophy (cuz' there should be one). A fascinating matchup--the closest thing to a must-watch outside of Madrid-Sevilla, I think.

Pick: 3-2 to Málaga.

Real Betis vs. Atletico Madrid

19:45 CET (1:45 PM EST)

We can officially say that Real Betis will not drop down to Segunda this season (yay!). We cannot say whether Atleti will be in Europe or not next season (though they might get one of those auto-bids if they win the Europa League final against Athletic). So my guess is that one team will care slightly more about this match than the other.

Pick: 1-3 to Atleti.

Rayo Vallecano vs. FC Barcelona

21:30 CET (3:30 PM EST)

Pep Guardiola isn't gone yet, guys. This is still FC Barcelona, that team that won a bajillion trophies. So yeah, they're still god, if not all-powerful anymore. But they are going to Vallecas (!!!!!) to play on that tiny, crappy pitch that might not totally fit their style. Though I doubt that will matter.

Pick: 1-5 to Pep.

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