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Spanish League Preview, Week 38

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21.05.2011 16:45

Spanish League Preview, Week 38

As the teams go into the final day of La Liga action, only the third relegation spot is to be decided, with the Champions League, Europa Cup and bottom two places already sorted. All six teams threatened with 18th place kick off at 22.00 tonight.

Spanish League Preview, Week 38

Zaragoza are currently in the third relegation spot, with 42 points and they face a trip to Llevant – who sealed their safety last week. One point ahead of Zaragoza are Deportivo, who play Valencia in Riazor and Getafe, who travel to Real Sociedad –themselves sitting on just 44 alongside Osasuna, at home to Valencia, and Mallorca who play Atletico Madrid at the Iberostar Stadium. Atletico, Bilbao, who play Racing in Santander, and Seville, away to Espanyol, are all on 55 points and tonight’s results will decide the 5th-7th places between them, with the 7th place team having to play the qualifying rounds for the Europa Cup.

Cash incentives?

Zaragoza have won just one of their last eight away games –though that was at the Bernabeu- but they’ll need to repeat that at Llevant if they want to guarantee La Liga football next season. With Llevant already safe, the traditional rumours of briefcases of money being paid to teams to ”encourage” them have already begun, but Zaragoza boss Javier Aguirre insists: “look, we are all adults here and we know how this works”, whilst his opposite number Luis Garcia declared: “we can do what we want –we’ll be happy with a win, a draw or a defeat”.

Deportivo and Getafe in danger

If Zaragoza manage a point, Getafe and Deportivo will be in danger. The Galicians face a repeat of the final game of the 1994 season, when Valencia robbed them of the chance to take the league title with a famous penalty save from Djukic. Perhaps of more relevance is the fact that it’s been 10 years now since they last beat Valencia – a result they will need if Zaragoza overcome Llevant and Getafe get a result in their game at Real Sociedad. Getafe have not won on the road since December, but like Deportivo, only a win would automatically guarantee safety. For their part, Real, who have an excellent home record this season, with 11 wins out of 18 games, can avoid an immediate return to the second division with just a point.

Osasuna trust to home form

Osasuna’s home record is also impressive and after recent wins over Seville and Valencia, they will hope to take at least the point they need against a Villarreal team who have faded in the second half of the season, but are guaranteed fourth place. The final team in the mix are surprisingly Mallorca, who after chasing a Europa League spot for a large part of the season, now find themselves on 44 points, still not guaranteed safety. A defeat by Atletico Madrid, combined with a draw at Anoeta and wins for Deportivo, Zaragoza and a draw or a win for Osasuna could end the islanders’ 14 year stay in the top flight.

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