Crucial contests to clarify pictures

With the La Liga title now assured, Barcelona could be forgiven for turning their attention to Wednesday's UEFA Champions League final ahead of their final league game of the season. However, for Osasuna, their opponents, it remains a crucial match.

Barcelona became champions without even taking to the field on Saturday, when second-placed Real Madrid lost away to Villarreal. The following day, Barça fielded what was largely a reserve side against Mallorca, but defeat did not dampen their celebrations.

Coach Pep Guardiola will be without Andres Iniesta and Thierry Henry, who he hopes will be fit to face Manchester United in Rome, against Osasuna, while he is also likely to rest a number of others including Lionel Messi.

The team want Barcelona to continue their celebrations on to the pitch, but the reality is that they are not going to give us anything.
Osasuna's Walter Pandiani

Osasuna dropped into the relegation zone courtesy of a draw with Sevilla, and now face the monumental task of saving themselves against Barcelona and Real Madrid in the last two weeks of the season. "The team want Barcelona to continue their celebrations on to the pitch, but the reality is that they are not going to give us anything," said forward Walter Pandiani.

"They will play with those you do not usually expect to start and they will want to make an impression, and then you will still have (Eric) Abidal, (Dani) Alves and Bojan (Krkic) in the team. We have to give more respect to Barcelona than anybody as they are the champions and for those who do not normally play it is only because they have ahead of them Messi, Henry and Iniesta."

Race for Europe wide open
While Real Madrid, who take on Mallorca next, have second place assured, the battle for European places below them is rife. Sevilla are keeping their fingers crossed that talismanic striker Frederic Kanoute will be fit to face Deportivo, who are pushing hard for a place in the UEFA Europa League. Depor are two points adrift of sixth place but know that with Valencia and Villarreal colliding, they have a good chance of making up ground.

It is set to be a decisive derby and Villarreal head into the match in better form, on the back of beating Real Madrid. "There is no margin for error now, it is a final. Whoever wins will be assured of a Europa League place and to get into Europe by beating Valencia would be very nice," said defender Diego Godin.

Comparatively, fourth-placed Atletico Madrid have what appears to be an easier task as they take on an Athletic Bilbao side that is already safe from relegation, but low in morale after losing the Copa del Rey final.

At the other end of the table, the battle against relegation is fierce. Defeat by Numancia has all but sealed the fate of rock-bottom Recreativo Huelva, who now take on a Racing Santander team that is four points adrift of safety.

Numancia's own hopes remain bleak, but if they can beat fellow strugglers Getafe then that would considerably improve their outlook going into the final match. Sporting Gijon, who travel to Valladolid, gave themselves a lifeline with victory over Malaga but they remain deep in trouble, level on points with third-bottom Osasuna.

Espanyol and Real Betis also recorded important wins last weekend, but remain very much in danger and cannot be complacent when they play away to Almeria and Malaga respectively.

Aston Villa-Newcastle United, Bayern Munich-Stuttgart and Palmeiras-Sao Paulo are among the matches on the FIFA World Leagues Predictor's Round 36 menu. If you haven't already, be sure to sign up and take a shot at winning this weekend's prize.