La Liga title race preview: Real Madrid and Barcelona's run-in with odds, fixtures and permutations
The Liga race is going to the final day - that much we know - but can Real Madrid make their game in hand count and knock Barcelona off top this Wednesday?
As we enter the final week of the Liga season, Barcelona and Real Madrid are locked on 87 points apiece.
Crucially, Real have a game in hand at Celta Vigo on Wednesday. Regardless of the result, the whereabouts of the league trophy will not be known until Sunday night.
Here, we look at the permutations of another enthralling title race...
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona conducts the ball next to Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CFGetty Images
ALL EYES ON WEDNESDAY
May 17: Celta Vigo v Real Madrid - 8pm GMT
It’s in Real’s hands. Two more wins and they will lift the league trophy for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Even a win and a draw would be enough.
To end that five-year drought, Zinedine Zidane’s side must first battle past Celta Vigo - the side who knocked Los Blancos out of the Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage. Real will hardly need reminding that they could only draw 2-2 at Celta after losing 2-1 at the Bernabeu in January. Could another upset be on the cards?
Real win: Real lead Barcelona by three points going into the final day
Real draw: Real lead Barcelona by one point going into the final day
Real lose: Barcelona lead Real courtesy of their head-to-head record
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) | J.37 LaLiga SantanderGetty Images
FINAL DAY FIXTURES
Sunday May 21
Malaga v Real Madrid - 7pm GMT
Barcelona v Eibar - 7pm GMT
Both sides will expected to take the three points here but final-day nerves can play all sorts of tricks on the mind. The Liga trophy is likely to be hovering closer to Malaga on Sunday, but Real travel to a side who are enjoying a late flourish, having won four of their last five league games. Barcelona meanwhile, have beaten Eibar home and away on the past occassions.
HEAD TO HEAD: BARCELONA WIN
If both sides are on the same amount of points after all 38 games, it will come down to their head-to-head. And in that case, the title would go to Barcelona - having drawn 1-1 with Real at Camp Nou before winning 3-2 at the Bernabeu in that Clasico match.
You would have to go back to the 2006-07 season to find the last time the league was decided this way. A 2-0 win for Real at the Bernabeu, followed by a 3-3 draw at the Camp Nou, meant they pipped Barca to the title after both finished on 76 points - a staggeringly low total given that both have hit the 100-point mark in recent years.
Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring during the El Clasico football match. Barselona’s fans among Real Madrid’s fansGetty Images
AND WHAT DO THE BOOKMAKERS SAY?
Real Madrid 1/6