The return of La Liga: the title race, the Champions League battle, the relegation fight and the big games to look forward to

La Liga is set to return on June 11 after a three-month coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

Fans of the Spanish first tier will be treated to a bumper month of football, with the remaining league fixtures played every day until the season ends on July 19.

The action at both ends of the table was well prepared before the campaign came to a halt in March, with plenty of loose ends tied up over the course of the final 11 games of the season.

Let’s take a look at how things currently stand, the big games to look forward to, and how things could end in La Liga.

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Barcelona lead Real Madrid by two points with 11 games remaining. Real can end the season with a maximum of 89 points if they win their remaining league matches. If so, Barcelona will also need to pick up as many points from their final matches as possible to retain their title.

Even if Real don’t drop a point, Barcelona can potentially afford to draw one of their remaining league games and still win the title. That would leave the two sides level on 89 points, and Barcelona currently have the better goal difference – albeit by just two goals.

Barcelona’s run-in is not easy. They still have to travel to third-placed Sevilla – who are themselves an outside chance of lifting the title, although that would involve them opening an 11-point gap over Barcelona from 11 games.

The defending La Liga champions also have a visit to Diego Simeone’s famously stubborn Atletico Madrid standing between them and the title.

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Real has some potential banana skins of its own to navigate. Zinedine Zidane’s side still have a tough trip to Valencia ahead of them – a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture in December thanks to Karim Benzema’s 96th-minute equaliser.

Los Blancos also face fourth-placed Real Sociedad, another team who could still mathematically – albeit highly unlikely – win the title.

Neither Barcelona nor Real have been at their best this season, with the pair dropping points on a number of occasions, suggesting there are still plenty of twists and turns in the title race this year.

The pair both return to action on June 13, with Real visiting Eibar and Barcelona visiting Mallorca.

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The battle for Europe is just as fierce as the title race, with third-placed Sevilla leapfrogging Valencia into seventh with a realistic shot at securing the final two Champions League spots.

Villarreal, Granada and Athletic Club are also bottom in 10th place, but can only be nine points behind fourth-placed Real Sociedad.

Sevilla sit on 47 points, and Sociedad and Getafe are a point behind in fourth and fifth. With an identical goal difference, Sociedad currently edge out Getafe in the Champions League goalscoring places.

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Atletico Madrid are sixth with 45 points, currently a point off Champions League football, while Valencia are a further three points behind in seventh.

The Champions League run will be interesting, with all sides scheduled to play each other before the end of the season. Sociedad still have trips to Getafe, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal on their fixture list, as well as trips to Seville and Granada.

Getafe’s first game back will see them play Granada, and they will also welcome Atletico Madrid before the end of the season, while Valencia have fixtures in the pipeline with Sevilla, Granada, Villarreal and Athletic Club.

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It’s been a bleak time at the bottom of La Liga, with just nine points separating Mallorca in the final relegation spot and Osasuna in 11th.

Espanyol are a bit of a cut in the bottom of the league, six points from safety. Leganes are second from bottom, just three points behind 17th-placed Celta Vigo.

Celta Vigo are one point clear of Mallorca in the drop zone, while Eibar and Real Valladolid are still very much in danger, two and three points clear of the drop zone respectively.

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Alaves, Levante, Real Betis and Osasuna have all found a bit of daylight between themselves and the bottom three, but if they don’t hit the ground running they could easily be dragged into the relegation dogfight.

Mallorca have a very tasty fixture list with matches against Real Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Sevilla and Atlético Madrid, with six points against Celta Vigo and Leganes all but relegation to come.

Leganes themselves have meetings with fellow strugglers Eibar and Valladolid, leaving plenty of room for movement into the relegation zone before the season draws to a close.

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