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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 5, 2011

Barcelona on the brink of title

Barcelona could clinch their third successive Primera Division title this weekend to cap another wonderful few days for Pep Guardiola's men.

The Catalans completed a 3-1 aggregate victory over arch-rivals Real Madrid on Tuesday night to move into the Champions League final and a meeting with Manchester United - a rematch of their 2009 clash in Rome. And they could rub Madrid's noses in it further by continuing their domestic dominance.

Should Madrid fail to win at Sevilla on Saturday night, then a Barca win at home to Espanyol a day later will see them claim their 21st Primera Division crown.

Barca's neighbours will be desperate to spoil, or at least delay, the party, however, and also further their hopes of playing in the Europa League next season.

Midfielder Joan Verdu, who can play after the disciplinary committee rescinded a yellow card he received in Monday's 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao, said: ''Barca will win the league and we will also play in Europe. It is an important game for us to try to join the party.

''If we didn't think we could compete we would stay here and hand Barca the three points. (Lionel) Messi makes the difference for them because he is better than the rest. But if we all help, we can stop him.''

Sevilla are also Europa League contenders and striker Alvaro Negredo is confident he can help put one over on his former team Real Madrid at the weekend.

He told Marca: ''The team is in good shape. We have worked well throughout the year although we have had our ups and downs. We have to stay positive and make sure we come fifth. It is in our hands.''

The battle to stay in the Primera Division is more intriguing than the battle to win it. All the teams from 13th-placed Racing Santander down will be nervous heading into the 35th round of 38 fixtures.

Racing are three points above the bottom three with all still to play for. Rock-bottom Almeria are on the brink but Hercules and Getafe, who currently reside in the drop zone, will be hopeful of an escape.

Getafe will be particularly confident of beating Almeria on home soil while Hercules host Racing.

Fourth-bottom Deportivo La Coruna go to a Sporting Gijon side just about safe while Osasuna and Malaga both face tricky away trips.

Malaga go to Atletico Madrid and Osasuna meet a Real Zaragoza side also scrapping for their lives.

Valencia and Villarreal are fighting for third place and automatic qualification into the Champions League with the losers having to settle for a spot in the qualifying rounds.

Valencia host Real Sociedad and Villarreal go to Real Mallorca.

In the other game this weekend, Europa League-chasing Athletic host Levante.

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