If the season in La Liga were a horse race, we'd be just coming off the final turn and heading down the home stretch. With two weeks left to play, we could potentially resolve the entire relegation fight on Sunday or have as many as six teams still in the mix. Real Betis could secure a Europa League spot, while the battle for fourth place could be resolved or roll on into the final weekend.
This week some classic Van Halen tunes help up separate out the matches into three groups: European dreamers, relegation battlers and the teams basically already starting their summer break.
All games scheduled for 2:00 p.m. ET, 19:00 CET kickoffs on Sunday, May 26th.
Our first tier of matches all have European implications. Fourth place is still on the line between Real Sociedad and Valencia, while Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano are still battling it out for the final Europa League place.
Real Sociedad vs. Real Madrid
While this match means nothing for Real Madrid, it's positively massive for Real Sociedad who currently sit in fourth place ahead of Valencia on a tiebreaker. What is that tiebreaker? I'm glad you asked! In Spain, if two teams tie on points in the standings, the higher position is awarded to the team with the better head-to-head goal differential. In their two meetings against Valenica, Real won by a combined 9-4 score, so should they remained tied on points, Real will take fourth place.
This means Real are in the driver's seat. If they win out, Valencia can't pass them. If they can at least match Valencia's result over the next two games, they are in the Champions League. That's still a ton of pressure, but it's better to be in the lead that trying to catch up.
Valencia vs. Granada
Valencia have to keep winning and hope Real Sociedad slip up if they want to take over fourth place. The tiebreaker is lost to them, so anything less than having more points than Real at the end of next Sunday means Valencia will have to settle for a Europa League spot. Valencia get the added annoyance of facing a Granada team that could guarantee their safety for next season with three points.
Real Betis vs. Real Zaragoza
This is another match with implications for both team's involved. Real Betis lose both games against 8th placed Rayo Vallecano this year, so they do not have the tiebreaker. However, they have a three point advantage to as long as they match or better what Rayo does, they'll hold on to a Europa League spot. Real Zaragoza are in the relegation zone, one points behind Depor for the final safe spot in the table. They have to win, or hope that Depor gets a loss or draw if they want to survive.
A loss for Zaragoza combined with a Deportivo and Osasuna victory would mean relegation for the Blanquillos.
Getafe vs. Rayo Vallecano
Rayo need a win to keep pressure of Real Betis, a loss or draw against Getafe combined with a Betis victory puts the Europa League out of reach for Rayo. Getafe are safe with nothing to play for but pride and trying to ruin Rayo's European dreams.
Runnin' With the Devil
It's all about the relegation fight in our second tier of matches as we could see all three bottom places in the league locked up this week...or we could end up with a chaotic final match day next week.
Atletico Madrid vs. Mallorca
Mallorca have a problem. The three teams ahead of them in the relegation fight (Zaragoza, Depor and Osasuna) all have the tiebreaker advantage over Los Bermellones...that's not good. Even worse, if Depor win this week, Mallorca are relegated no matter what they do. Mallorca are three points from safety and must win to have any chance of surviving to play for their lives next weekend. Should both Depor and Mallorca lose, Zaragoza would only need a single point to relegate them. Yikes. If Mallorca can defeat Atletico Madrid, who are likely still on a post-Copa del Rey high, and get Depor to lose, things will remain interesting going into the final week of the season.
Malaga vs. Deportivo La Coruña
Win! Win! Win! That's what Depor needs to go. It won't guarantee their safety but it would doom both Mallorca and Celta Vigo to relegation. A Depor victory combined with a Zaragoza loss means the Galicians are safe and the relegation fight is over. A loss or draw for Depor means they could find themselves back in the drop zone and facing a final day battle royale.
Osasuna vs. Sevilla
Osasuna, much like everyone else, needs to keep winning. They can't end the season tied with Depor but they could end up tied with Zaragoza, which would be very bad as Zaragoza holds the tiebreaker advantage. To avoid that, they need to win, or hope Zaragoza loses and gets relegated by a Depor victory.
This is confusing stuff.
Real Valladolid vs. Celta Vigo
Celta Vigo are in serious trouble. They have to win and hope nearly every other team in the relegation fight loses if they hope to have a chance to make the great escape next week. A Celta loss or draw against Valladolid means adios top flight.
Dance the Night Away
Congratulations to the four teams below. You all have either won the league and/or secured safety for next season. Your games means basically nothing. Zilch...nada. So put on your fancy shoes and dance the night way.
Espnayol vs. Barcelona