Atletico closes in on 1st league title in 18 years

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 1, 2014 at 9:52 am •  Published: May 1, 2014
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MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid can follow up its feat of reaching the Champions League final by winning its first Spanish league title in 18 years if closest rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid slip up this weekend.

Atletico beat Chelsea to reach its first European Cup final in 40 years on Wednesday and, for an encore, it can take another step toward its first league championship since 1996 with a victory at Levante on Sunday.

Madrid, meanwhile, is also riding high after powering past Bayern Munich in its Champions League semifinal to help set up the first ever city derby in a European Cup final.

Madrid plays against Valencia on Sunday, hours after Atletico's match, so it will be aware of what is necessary to remain in the race.

Atletico has 88 points with three rounds to play, Barcelona is second with 84 points ahead of its game against Getafe on Saturday. Madrid has 82 points but still has four games left to play.

Here are five things to know about this weekend's La Liga action:

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MADRID CLUBS ON A HIGH

Both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid must harness the momentum from its impressive Champions League victories as they find themselves fighting each other for the domestic title as well.

The teams will play for the European Cup in Lisbon on May 24, but La Liga is still very much up for grabs before that.

"We've got to focus on the game against Levante and nothing more," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. "We've got to recover and move forward game by game."

Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa is available after being sidelined nearly two months to a knee injury.

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BARCELONA ON BRINK

Barcelona faces a must-win match against Getafe on Saturday as it looks to avoid its first trophyless season since 2006-07. If Barcelona fails to maintain the pressure on Atletico it will have no chance of retaining its league title.

"We know that we're dependent on other results and that certainly complicates things," Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets said on Thursday. "But we have hope. We need to exhaust all of our possibilities."

Barcelona winger Isaac Cuenca was cleared to return from a knee injury.

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