La Liga, Round 27: Athletic Bilbao hope to firm up their grip on fourth place

David Ramos

Thanks to one of the best title races in years, Athletic Bilbao have quietly had themselves an excellent season and are moving closer to claiming a Champions League spot.

While the three leaders continue to dance at the top of the table, the most interesting story in this round of La Liga matches could be just behind them in fourth place. Athletic Bilbao has quietly been having a fantastic bounce back season after a tough campaign in 2012/13 that cost Marcelo Bielsa his job.

New Athletic coach Ernesto Valverde has come in, calmed the waters and promptly turned around his new team's fortunes with consistent play, especially at the new San Mamés. Thanks to stumbles by Villarreal and Real Sociedad over the past couple weeks, Athletic have opened up a six point lead as they look to claim La Liga's final Champions League place. They face a potentially challenging match against Valencia on Sunday.

Villarreal will look to get back on tract against Granada while Real Sociedad faces relegation threatened Rayo Vallecano.

In that race of the title, leaders Real Madrid are home against Levante -- a team that nearly upset them in their first meeting of the season -- while Barcelona is on the road against struggling Real Valladolid. Atlético Madrid, three points behind Madrid are away against Celta Vigo.

Here's the full schedule for round 27 in Spain.

Saturday, March 8

Real Valladolid vs. Barcelona | 10 a.m. ET, 4 p.m. CEST

Real Betis vs. Getafe | 12 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. CEST

Celta Vigo vs. Atlético Madrid | 2 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. CEST

Granada vs. Villarreal | 4 p.m. ET, 10 p.m. CEST

Sunday, March 9

Espanyol vs. Elche | 7 a.m. ET, 12 p.m. CEST

Almeria vs. Sevilla | 12 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. CEST

Real Madrid vs. Levante | 2 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. CEST

Valencia vs. Athletc Bilbao | 4 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CEST

Monday, March 10

Osasuna vs. Málaga | 3 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. CEST

Real Sociedad vs. Rayo Vallecano | 5 p.m. ET, 10 p.m. CEST

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