FEATURE | The race for Champions League places in La Liga

Four games and 12 points, that’s all there is left to play for but the top four drama goes on until the end… with a bit of reservation though since Sevilla increased the gap between the desired, Champions League warranting, fourth place and the less desired fifth place to six points. A solid lead considering the short time remaining. However, it’s not over until it’s over and there are still five teams in the mix.

3. Atlético Madrid W16 D14 L4 | 46-25 | 62 pts

Remaining games: Celta Vigo (a), Real Betis (h), Getafe (a), Real Sociedad (h)

Los Rojiblancos are in pole position for one of the two remaining Champions League spots. While Real Madrid and Barcelona secured theirs a while back, it’s the third giant who’s next in line and it would basically take a full-on collapse to stop Simeone’s men from falling down to fifth. Eight points between Atleti and Villarreal in fifth should be enough of a gap to ensure a return to the competition where they knocked out Liverpool at Anfield in March.

4. Sevilla W16 D12 L6 | 49-33 | 60 pts

Remaining games: Athletic Club (a), Mallorca (h), Real Sociedad (a), Valencia (h)

Sevilla’s 1-0 win against Eibar on Monday night put them in a fantastic position and with only four games to go the six-point gap should be enough to be safe. However, take a look at the remaining games and it’s almost exclusively tough games coming up. Lopetegui’s team rarely lose though and that’s probably what the chasing sides need to hope for because six points is still six points and that’s a lot at this stage of the season.

5. Villarreal W16 D6 L12 | 54-44 | 54 pts

Remaining games: Getafe (a), Real Sociedad (h), Real Madrid (a), Eibar (h)

Spain’s hottest team post-hiatus took a hit over the weekend against Barcelona when they lost 4-1 at home. The energetic and creative sides they had showcased so far were blown away by Messi and Co., who did whatever they wanted on the night. Maybe only a hiccup but they need to get back to their previous level as soon as possible, especially considering the match-ups that are awaiting them.

6. Getafe W14 D11 L9 | 42-31 | 53 pts

Remaining games: Villarreal (h), Deportivo Alavés (a), Atlético Madrid (h), Levante (a)

Last season’s big surprise team have been just as good this campaign. José Bordalás continues to prove that he’s a man ready for bigger missions when he consistently makes Getafe punch above their weight. The return to football hasn’t been kind to the Madrid side though with a record of 1-4-2. Defensively they’re as good as ever but it’s in the other direction where the production has been dry, something that needs to change if the seven-point gap up to fourth place will even have a chance to decrease.

7. Real Sociedad W15 D6 L13 | 51-43 | 51 pts

Remaining games: Granada (h), Villarreal (a), Sevilla (h), Atlético Madrid (a)

The Basque side is shoehorned into this piece because nine points in four games shouldn’t be possible to make up, but never say never. However, their form since the return has been horrendous and their schedule is as tough as it gets. The latter might be a blessing in disguise though since they have the chance to cause direct trouble for three of their four direct Champions League-spot rivals but it’s still far-fetched.

Considering the current standings it’s hard to predict the table in a different way than the way things are right now, as much as some last round drama would be intriguing, it’s in the hands of both Atlético Madrid and Sevilla to grab the all-important places.

Marcus Bring

More European Football News