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La Liga Salve For Barca, Derby For Real

Barcelona can claim their 22nd La Liga title -their fourth in five years- if results go their way on Saturday.

The Blaugrana will stretch their lead at the top of the table to 16 points should they beat Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.

And that will be enough to guarantee the title, if second-place Real Madrid lose to their cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid in the capital derby later on Saturday night.

Both Barca and Real will be licking their wounds this weekend, after the shockingly heavy defeats they suffered at the hands of their German opponents in the Champions League.

And considering the depth of despair the Blaugrana felt at having been humiliated 4-0 by Bayern Munich, even winning the title may not bring a smile to their faces.

Similarly, Los Blancos are in a near state of depression after their quest for La Decima copped a 4-1 sucker punch in Dortmund last night.

And things could go from bad to worse for them if Atletico beat them in the derby, drawing level with them on points and handing Barca the title in the process.

Atleti manager Diego Simeone can sense that Real are a wounded beast, and he is hoping his team can take advantage of Los Blancos’ woes, to record a rare derby victory.

"You have to go back many years before you find a time when we were competing for league positions as well as for the game," Simeone said.

"We have played them in many different circumstances and it hasn't gone well. Saturday is a new opportunity and you have to make the most of it."

Interestingly, the match provides a trial run for the Kings Cup final between the two Madrid sides next month- a game which Real never thought would be their only chance at silverware when the season first began.

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