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La Liga preview: El Clasico to decide title

SoccerNews in La Liga 15 Apr 2011

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Real Madrid host Barcelona in a potential title decider on Saturday, the first of four eagerly anticipated clashes between the two teams.

Reigning champions Barca top the La Liga table by eight points from second-placed Real.

Pep Guardiola’s side dismantled Real 5-0 during their first meeting at the Camp Nou in November.

A victory in the corresponding fixture at the Bernabeu could see them stretch their advantage to a near-unassailable 11 points.

And with only six matches of the season remaining after this round, it would make Barca overwhelming favourites to collect their third consecutive championship crown.

But the title race is one only part of a fascinating series of matches between the two arch-rivals.

On Wednesday they contest the Copa del Rey final at Valencia’s Estadio Mestalla, before meeting over two legs of the Champions League semi-final in the last week of April and first week of May.

Elsewhere in La Liga, bottom club Almeria have a daunting assignment at home to third-placed Valencia, who thrashed immediate rivals Villarreal 5-0 last weekend.

Almeria went down 3-1 away to Barca after taking a surprise lead early in the second half at the Camp Nou.

They are four points adrift of second bottom Malaga and seven points away from safety.

Malaga have an opportunity to climb above third-from-last Hercules and draw level with 17th-placed Real Zaragoza when they are in action at home to mid-table Mallorca.

Also on Saturday, Sevilla travel to Getafe with their hopes of securing a Champions League qualification berth fading.

Gregorio Manzano’s side are fifth, eight points behind fourth-placed Villarreal, who do not play until Monday, when they host Zaragoza.

In Sunday’s matches, Hercules will hope to continue their survival bid when they travel to Levante.

Deportivo La Coruna are at home to Racing Santander, Sporting Gijon travel to face Real Sociedad and Osasuna await the visit of Athletic Bilbao.

Atletico Madrid, seventh in the table but level on points with sixth-placed Bilbao, are away at Espanyol.

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