Breaking down Barcelona and Real Madrid's La Liga run-ins

Gareth Bale is chased by Neymar

Guillem Balague reckons the La Liga title race is 50-50, but who has the harder run-in? We take a look at the remaining fixtures...

With nine games to go, Barcelona hold a four-point lead over Real Madrid, but both sides still have some tricky fixtures left in their domestic calendars along with Champions League clashes.

Balague expects the race to be decided in the final few weeks of the campaign, so who do the top two still have left to play?

Matchday 30 – Barcelona v Almeria, Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid

Barcelona needed a couple of late goals to beat Almeria 2-1 earlier in the season, but the Andalucian side are now in the bottom three and without a win in two months.

Rayo Vallecano could provide a tougher test for Real Madrid on Wednesday evening as they have won their last three games on the spin.

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Matchday 31 – Sevilla v Barcelona, Real Madrid v Eibar

Barcelona start a testing week with a tricky trip to Sevilla, who are currently one of the form teams in Europe.

Although they were beaten 5-1 at the Nou Camp in November, Unai Emery’s side have won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions and are pushing for a Champions League spot.

In contrast, Madrid's opponents Eibar are in freefall after losing nine of their last 10 matches.

Both matches take place on Saturday to give Barca and Madrid time to prepare for their midweek Champions League trips to Paris St-Germain and Atletico Madrid respectively.

Matchday 32 – Barcelona v Valencia, Real Madrid v Malaga

Valencia's midfielder Andre Gomes (left) celebrates a goal with teammates against Elche
Image: Valencia should prove a stern test for Real Madrid.

After facing PSG on Wednesday, Barca have just three days before a tough La Liga encounter against Valencia at the Nou Camp.

Third-placed Los Che have lost just once this year and were only denied a draw against Barca in November by a Sergio Busquets winner deep into injury-time.

Madrid play the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday but return to domestic action a few hours after Barca as they host Malaga.

Malaga have taken four points from their two matches against Barcelona this season and were only beaten 2-1 at the Bernabeu.

Matchday 33 – Espanyol v Barcelona, Celta Vigo v Real Madrid

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Barcelona had to work hard for victory over Celta Vigo, will the Galicians test Real Madrid too?

Barca might have won the last six Catalan derbies, scoring 17 goals and conceding just one, but a trip to Espanyol could be a tricky proposition after the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

A trip out west to Celta Vigo is unlikely to be easy for Madrid either, as Barcelona found out at the weekend when they were made to work hard for a 1-0 win.

Matchday 34 – Barcelona v Getafe, Real Madrid v Almeria

It would be a huge shock if either side dropped points in these midweek fixtures against opposition in the bottom half of the table.

Getafe might fancy their chances more than Almeria after drawing their last two La Liga matches against Barca.

Matchday 35 – Cordoba v Barcelona, Sevilla v Real Madrid

Sevilla's coach Unai Emery
Image: Unai Emery's Sevilla could provide a stern test for Real Madrid.

While Barca will be expected to ease past basement side Cordoba ahead of a potential Champions League semi-final in midweek, Madrid should face a far tougher encounter against Sevilla.

The Andalucian side have beaten Madrid on their last two visits to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, although they too could have one eye on Europe if they are still involved in the Europa League, with the semi-finals taking place in the following week.

Matchday 36 - Barcelona v Real Sociedad, Real Madrid v Valencia

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - JANUARY 04:  Head coach David Moyes of Real Sociedad shakes hands with Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona at the end of the La Liga match
Image: Will David Moyes' Real Sociedad do the double over Barcelona?

Barcelona will be out for revenge against David Moyes’ Real Sociedad after losing 1-0 at the Anoeta in early January.

Sociedad have also beaten Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla at home this season, but are yet to claim any big scalps on the road.

Sandwiched either side of a potential Champions League semi-final, Real Madrid host Valencia, who came from behind to win the reverse fixture 2-1 in January.

Madrid have also failed to beat Valencia on their last three visits to the Bernabeu.

Matchday 37 - Atletico Madrid v Barcelona, Espanyol v Real Madrid

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Barcelona defeated nine-man Atletico Madrid in a heated Copa del Rey quarter final to seal a 4-2 aggregate victory.

If the title is still up for grabs on the penultimate weekend then Barcelona and Real Madrid fans will be in the unusual position of cheering on their local rivals.

Barcelona have beaten Atletico in all three of their meetings this season but are sure to have their work cut out to claim another victory at the Vicente Calderon.

Espanyol will not want to do Barca any favours but will be keen to end a long winless run against Real Madrid.

Matchday 38 - Barcelona v Deportivo, Real Madrid v Getafe

Head coach Carlo Ancelotti (R) of Real Madrid CF welcomes head coach Luis Enrique Martinez (L) of FC Barcelona during the La Liga clash
Image: Will it be Luis Enrique (L) or Carlo Ancelotti celebrating on the final day?

Anything other than three points on the final day of the season for either side would be a surprise, particularly if the title race is still on.

Deportivo could provide a sterner test than Getafe if they are fighting relegation, while Real Madrid would win the league if both sides finished level on points by virtue of the head-to-head record with Barcelona this season.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men beat Barca 3-1 in at the Bernabeu and only lost 2-1 at the Nou Camp – a result that could potentially prove decisive.

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