Date: Saturday, 17 May Venue: Nou Camp Kick-Off: 17:00 Spanish football is set for a title showdown this weekend as league leaders Atletico Madrid clash with Barcelona, with La Liga reaching its pulsating conclusion.
Barcelona will be without the retiring Carles Puyol for their crucial clash with Atletico. Puyol has suffered with knee injuries throughout the season and has played his last game for the club. However, Neymar returns from a month-long layoff with a foot injury, while Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba are also set to return for Barca. Atletico Madrid's leading goalscorer this season, Diego Costa is fit following a hamstring strain. (BBC)
Over the five games between the sides this season, there have been just three goals. Barcelona will win La Liga if they defeat Atletico. A draw or a win for Madrid would see them clinch their first Spanish title since 1991. The last six league meetings between the sides at the Nou Camp have ended in victory for Barcelona. Those matches ended 3-0, 6-1, 5-2, 3-0, 5-0 and 4-1. However, Atletico won the most recent meeting between the two sides, as they knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League quarter finals 1-0 back in April.
Barcelona Valdes, Adriano, Mascherano, Bartra, Alves, Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi, Messi, Pedro, Sanchez Atletico Madrid Courtois, Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Luis, Gabi, Tiago, Koke, Turan, Villa, Costa
After 37 games, we're still none the wiser in knowing who will be crowned Spanish champions as league leaders Atletico Madrid take on Barcelona in a dramatic winner takes all encounter at the Nou Camp. Atleti currently lead the way on 89 points but can be overhauled by Barca - on 86 points but a superior goal difference and head-to-head record - if they lose on Saturday. It would be a cruel twist to a campaign that has seen the less-famous Madrid side come within touching distance of their first league title since 1991, with Diego Simeone's men playing some fantastic football this season. Atletico - who are also in the Champions League final this year, where they take on cross-city rivals Real - have been a pleasure to watch, and can hold their heads high win or lose. For Barca meanwhile this game represents their only shot at silverware having been knocked out of Europe by their weekend rivals last month, and the pressure is on to deliver some sort of success to their fans. Putting this weekend's mouth watering affair to one side for a moment, it's prudent to pay our respects to Carles Puyol, (above) who has played his last game for Barca and will head into retirement this summer. Can Barcelona give him a fitting send-off by clinching their 23rd Liga crown?
Joseph is an accredited football journalist and has interviewed nearly all of the current 20 Barclay's Premier League managers. He is also a correspondent for Bleacher Report and has written for Caught Offside and Give Me Football.