La Liga, Round 33 preview: Atlético Madrid are closing in on a title

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Atlético's mission is simple, keep winning and the title belongs to them.

Five rounds remain in the 2013/14 La Liga season. Each team has 15 potential points on the table to, depending on their place in the table, win a title, claim fourth place, qualify for the Europa League or avoid relegation.

The title race picture remains deceivingly simple despite the fact the three teams involved are still only separated by three points or less. Atlético Madrid knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League on Wednesday and now must immediately re-focus for a trip to Getafe. Diego Simeone knows how close his Colchoneros are lifting their first league title since 1996, and if they keep winning, they'll do just that.

Real Madrid remain alive in the Champions League but finding a way to catch Atléti got a bit tougher on Thursday with the news that Cristiano Ronaldo faces at least two weeks out with a thigh injury. As much talent as Madrid have on their roster, losing a player like Ronaldo will still cause issues. Fortunately for Carlo Ancelotti, his team faces a winnable home match against relegation battler Almeria on Saturday.

Then there's Barcelona. Their pride is wounded, they won't be in the UCL semifinals for the first time since 2007, but they still could win three total trophies this summer. Next week's Copa del Rey final will be on their minds, but first up is a trip to Granada, who themselves are trying stay out of the drop zone.

Speaking of the drop zone, as it stands Real Betis, Almeria and Getafe would be out if the league ended today. Betis need to pull off a Steve McQueen-like great escape to avoid dropping to the Segunda División, but Almeria and Getafe are just barely on the wrong side of the line. Chances are both of those teams will remain in the drop zone as both face title contenders this week.

Finally, Athletic Bilbao hold a six-point lead over Sevilla for fourth place. Much like Atléti, if Athletic continue to win, they'll claim a Champions League spot. Sevilla's only hope is for Atheltic to slip-up, opening the door for them.

Here's the full schedule for round 33 in Spain.

Friday, April 11

Osasuna vs. Real Valladolid | 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CEST

Saturday, April 12

Celta Vigo vs. Real Sociedad | 10 a.m. ET, 4 p.m. CEST

Villarreal vs. Levante | 12 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. CEST

Granada vs. Barcelona | 2 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. CEST

Real Madrid vs. Almeria | 4 p.m. ET, 10 p.m. CEST

Sunday, April 13

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

Valencia vs. Elche | 11 a.m. ET, 5 p.m. CEST

Getafe vs. Atlético Madrid | 1 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. CEST

Espanyol vs. Rayo Vallecano | 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CEST

Monday, April 14

Athletic Bilbao vs. Málaga | 4 p.m. ET, 10 p.m. CEST

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