Title fight in Spain: Will Real slip up again?
Barcelona’s dramatic 3-2 win over Real Madrid has set La Liga’s title race on its ear, with both clubs level on points with 75.
Real still controls its own destiny in a bid for its first league title since 2011-12, but a single loss puts Barcelona in pole position for its fourth title in five seasons.
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The tiebreaker is head-to-head, which Lionel Messi lifted from Real with his thrilling stoppage time thriller on Sunday at the Bernabeu.
Here are the run-ins for both sides, with Real facing a more congested schedule thanks to its status as a UEFA Champions League semifinalist.
Only two of Real’s remaining five La Liga matches are at home, a boon for Barcelona considering Real boasts a strong home mark. The loss to Barca was Real’s first at the Bernabeu this season, and the Merengues only drew three matches at home (Villarreal, Eibar, Atletico Madrid).
Those home matches, however, are against teams that beat Real in the sides’ other league meetings this year, Sevilla and Valencia.
Wednesday - at Deportivo de la Coruna (16th)
Saturday - vs. Valencia (12th)
May 2 - vs. Atletico Madrid (UCL)
May 6 - at Granada (19th)
May 10 - at Atletico Madrid (UCL)
May 14 - vs. Sevilla (4th)
May 21 - at Malaga (14th)
Barca is home for three of its remaining five matches. The Blaugranas drew Villarreal and blew out Osasuna and Eibar ahead of the return visits.
As for the road matches, Barca has the Derbi barceloni with Espanyol, having taken the Camp Nou meeting 4-1, as well as a trip to Las Palmas (5-0 at home).
Wednesday - vs. Osasuna (20th)
Saturday - at Espanyol (9th)
May 6 - vs. Villarreal (5th)
May 14 - at Las Palmas (13th)
May 21 - vs. Eibar (8th)
May 27 - vs. Alaves (Copa del Rey Final)
Any whiplash Real faces from schedule congestion should be offset by Barcelona’s much tougher schedule. Real could lose again, perhaps versus Sevilla, but Barca will likely finish second thanks to dropped points against Espanyol, Eibar, or Villarreal.