Preview: Spanish La Liga, Round 34

While many will still be buzzing over the midweek Champions League clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona, the story in Spain for this round of matches will focus more of the congestion in the middle and at the bottom of the table. Seven clubs are mathematically alive for Europa League spots, while nine clubs are in the relegation battle, with six teams within three points or less of the drop zone.

Real Madrid vs. Real Zaragoza, Saturday, 16:00 GMT

With Madrid likely still smarting from their midweek home loss to Barcelona in their Champions League semifinal first leg, Zaragoza could be facing an angry Los Blancos squad. Zaragoza is one point out of the relegation zone and could really use a result but this might not be the match to get them in. Fortunately, several teams around Zaragoza in the table are facing tough matches as well, so a loss probably wouldn't be the end of the world. In 61 trips to the Bernabéu, Zaragoza has had a positive result (win or draw) only ten times.

Real Sociedad vs. Barcelona, Saturday, 18:00 GMT

Real Sociedad may be in 12th in the league table, but they are anything but comfortable with only three points between them and 17th. Barcelona will likely rest several starters ahead of Tuesday's Champions League match with Real Madrid, but that will hardly make things any easier for Sociedad. In their first match in December, Barca dismantled them, winning 5-0 at the Camp Nou. Fun fact, Sociedad has a league leading 19 defeats this season, but their 12 victories have helped keep them out of the drop zone, for the time being.

Deportivo La Coruna vs. Atletico Madrid, Saturday, 20:00 GMT

Atletico Madrid is still on the outside looking in for a Europa League spot, while Deportivo La Coruna are in a similar position as Real Sociedad with only three points between them and the relegation zone. Both teams need a result, so this could be an entertaining match. Atletico has been on a bit of a roll of late and are undefeated in their last four matches (3 wins, 1 draw).

Almeria vs. Sevilla, Sunday, 15:00 GMT

Sevilla is in the final Europa League spot, Almeria is dead last in the league. This is a must win for both clubs for entirely different reasons.

Levante vs. Sporting Gijon, Sunday, 15:00 GMT

This could be another interesting match between the 10th and 11th placed teams in the table. Both teams still have a chance to get a Europa League spot, but it's a tall task with the season winding down. A win for either would be a big boost towards making a run at European competition.

Malaga vs. Hercules, Sunday, 15:00 GMT

Things are fairly simple for these two clubs on Sunday. Hercules is in 18th with 33 points, Malaga is in 16th with 36 points. Malaga needs a win to take a big step away from the relegation zone, while a Hercules win could vault them to safety, at least for a week.

Racing Santander vs. Mallorca, Sunday, 15:00 GMT

Mallorca is in 9th with an outside chance of earning a Europa League place, while Racing Santander is right in the thick of a nine club relegation battle royale. Racing has lost their last three matches and desperately need to turn it around.

Villarreal vs. Getafe, Sunday, 17:00 GMT

The Yellow Submarine are reeling from two straight losses and have seen their hold on the final Champions League spot dwindle to a six point advantage over Athletic Bilbao. With Getafe fighting to avoid relegation, both clubs have something to play for, with Getafe likely wanting to impress their new owners.

Osasuna vs. Valencia, Sunday, 19:00 GMT

Valencia are sitting pretty in third place and will want to get three points against a struggling Osasuna club who are staring relegation right in the face. Both teams are looking to rebound from losses at the hands of La Liga's top two clubs last weekend.

Espanyol vs. Athletic Bilbao, Monday, 19:00 GMT

This is easily the best match of the round, at least on paper. Bilbao is in fifth, with a outside chance of taking the final Champions League spot away from Villarreal. Espanyol sits in eigth, five points behind Sevilla for a Europa League spot. Basically, there is a lot on the line for both clubs. The statistics favor Bilbao who are on two match winning streak, while Espanyol are in the midst of a nightmare run of form, with only two wins in their last ten matches and having lost five straight.

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