La Liga 2012, Week 37 Preview And Fixtures: Title Race Over, Focus Shifts To Other Battles

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 03: Iker Casillas of Real Madrid celebrates at Cibeles on May 3, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. Real Madrid are celebrating after winning the Spanish Liga title for the first time since 2008, and for the 32nd time in their history. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

With Real Madrid clinching the title officially Wednesday, we can finally get to the interesting stuff: namely, PLEASE, RAYO VALLECANO, STAY IN PRIMERA. Oh, how the meek have not inherited the earth.

It's not over yet, folks. Sure, Real Madrid clinched the Liga title last Wednesday, beating Athletic Bilbao 0-3 in one of Madrid's best performances this season. But that doesn't mean that the league is over. I mean there are still two weeks worth of games left to be played! And those two games mean the world to a huge number of breathless fans all over Spain, as they will decide which teams play in European competitions next season, which teams in Primera next year, and which ones will have the agony of toppling back down to Segunda.

And I'd like to call for a moment of silence to mourn our already-departed Racing Santander squad. They weren't the worst side all year...but they sure stunk it up for the last few months. A traditionally strong side, they will be missed in Primera.

Oh, and why are all these games on at the same time? Answer: the LFP just doesn't care anymore.

Saturday, May 5

Real Zaragoza vs. Racing Santander

21:00 CET (3:00 PM EST)

Racing's only useful role at this point is spoiler. If they win in Zaragoza this weekend, it could signify doom for a suddenly-alive Zaragoza squad that seemed destined to descend all season.

Pick: 1-1.

Athletic Bilbao vs. Getafe

21:00 CET (3:00 PM EST)

Athletic is a very good team; but they're clearly in rest up for the Europa League and Copa final mode, so it's unclear whether they'll give any real emphasis to this game. Though, at the same time, having a rested squad for the Copa final against Barcelona might not be as important as solidifying a spot in Europe next year. Just a thought.

Pick: 3-1 to Bilbao.

Mallorca vs. Levante

21:00 CET (3:00 PM EST)

Mallorca, currently sitting in 7th place--out of European contention--is only three points behind Levante, in 5th place, and currently qualifying for the Europa League. So yeah, this game might be important. Especially because Mallorca has to play Real Madrid in their last match.

Pick: 1-0 to Mallorca.

Granada vs. Real Madrid

21:00 CET (3:00 PM EST)

I can't decide if Madrid having nothing to play for will mean that they will rest their normal starters and play subs, or if they'll want to let their normal starters get the honor guard at the beginning, then play through the match. Hmm. Oh, who cares, Madrid's subs will thrash Granada anyways.

Pick: 0-5 to Madrid.

Sevilla vs. Rayo Vallecano

21:00 CET (3:00 PM EST)

Oh, how the not-mighty have not really fallen. Rayo has plummeted all the way from "maybe we'll be in Europe" to "oh crap now we might go down." How did this happen? Well, it happened because the difference between 6th place (Atlético Madrid) and 18th place (Zaragoza) is 13 freaking points. That's nonsense.

Pick: 2-2.

FC Barcelona vs. Espanyol

21:00 CET (3:00 PM EST)

Hmm. Somehow I think Leo Messi will be scoring a ton of goals in the near future, much like a certain Portuguese player did last year to ensure that he won the Pichichi trophy for most goals. Hmm.

Pick: 5-0 to Barcelona.

Sporting Gijón vs. Real Betis

21:00 CET (3:00 PM EST)

Sporting needs a couple of miracles to stay in Primera. I doubt that they'll get any of them.

Pick: 1-1.

Atlético Madrid vs. Málaga

21:00 CET (3:00 PM EST)

Atleti is a good team. I think Málaga is better. I don't know about you, but this is the match I'm watching this weekend. They're mathematically almost identical in the standings, but Málaga is currently on pace to qualify for the Champions League, while Atleti is looking at the Europa League. 4 vs 5. Great, exciting game.

Pick: 3-3 to GOALS.

Valencia vs. Villarreal

21:00 CET (3:00 PM EST)

Man, Villarreal can't catch a break right now. It looks like they won't go down...but they have to win at least one of their next two games to mathematically ensure it. This one is going to be a fight, as Valencia won't want to be knocked off their third place.

Pick: 1-2 to Villarreal! Aupa!

Osasuna vs. Real Sociedad

21:00 CET (3:00 PM EST)

Osasuna won't go up (probably). Real Sociedad won't go down (probably). This has all the makings of a 0-0, but now that I said that will probably end 5-4 or something insane.

Pick: 0-0.

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