La Liga Table 2014 Week 37: Updated Standings Following Matchday 36

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVMay 2, 2014

Real's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his second goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Osasuna at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, April 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

With just three matchdays left, it's Atletico Madrid's title to lose in La Liga entering Week 36.

Atletico are atop the table with 88 points, but one loss would put Real Madrid—assuming they win out—back in control as they're six points out with one game in hand. As if these two squads didn't have enough going on with their looming Champions League final in Lisbon, Portugal, on May 24, they're both gunning for the league title in three crucial upcoming weekends.

With all 20 teams taking the pitch from Friday to Monday, everything from avoiding relegation to Champions League spots to the title on the line. Let's break it all down.

2013-14 La Liga Table: Week 36
POSTEAMPWDLFAGDPTS
1Atletico Madrid3628447524+5188
2Barcelona3627459932+6785
3Real Madrid35265410034+6683
4Athletic Bilbao3620886538+2768
5Sevilla36179106650+1660
6Real Sociedad361610105951+858
7Villarreal36158135443+1153
8Valencia361210144950-146
9Celta Vigo36137164652-646
10Levante361112133342-945
11Rayo Vallecano36134194574-2943
12Espanyol36118173947-841
13Malaga36118173745-841
14Elche36912152947-1939
15Granada36115203053-2338
16Almeria36106204171-3036
17Getafe3699183253-2136
18Osasuna3698192960-3135
19Real Valladolid35714143050-2035
20Real Betis3657243173-4222
ESPN FC
La Liga Week 36 Schedule/Results
DateHomeScore/Time (ET)Away
May 2Rayo Vallecano0-3Athletic Bilbao
May 3Barcelona2-2Getafe
May 3Malaga0-1Elche
May 3Osasuna0-2Celta Vigo
May 3Real Valladolid1-0Espanyol
May 4Almeria3-2Real Betis
May 4Levante2-0Athletico Madrid
May 4Sevilla0-0Villarreal
May 4Real Madrid2-2Valencia
May 5Real Sociedad1-1Granada
ESPN FC

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

In a rare early-weekend battle between two clubs in the league's top half, Athletic Bilbao showed their pedigree as a top-four squad with an all-important, 3-0 road win over Rayo Vallecano.

The victory sealed up the fourth and final spot in La Liga for Athletic, which means they will advance to the Champions League for the first time since 1997, per ITV Football:

Los Leones jumped on top of the home side early with a 20th-minute goal from Mikel San Jose—the 24-year-old's fifth score of the La Liga season. Oscar de Marcos added to the lead just 10 minutes later with a goal in the 30th minute to make it 2-0 Athletic.

The leading club bent but didn't break in the final 45 and added a third for insurance in the 74th minute when Ander Herrera put a free-kick into the bottom right corner of the net.

BILBAO, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 02:  Athletic Club fans cheer up their team during the La Liga match between Athletic Club and Real Madrid CF at San Mames Stadium on February 2, 2014 in Bilbao, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Rayo regained their composure after those fatal early blunders. They controlled possession to a 59-41 advantage and practically matched them in offensive output. But in the end, they couldn't make anything of their chances and ended scoreless in a wide-margined defeat. 

Athletic Bilbao had to fight down the stretch of this season for that fourth and final spot, which guarantees a place in the Champions League qualifying round. With this win, they assured themselves of making it into the exclusive tournament for the first time in nearly 20 years. 

Athletic close the season against Real Sociedad and Almeria in the season's final two weeks, but with Friday's victory, those are no longer matches that they must have. They're officially in.

Bilbao also received some good news on Saturday after Barcelona were held to a shocking draw by Getafe. As Dermot Ledwith of ESPN explains, the result all but ends Barca's title hopes:

A double strike by Angel Lafita, the second coming in the last minute, was all it took for the tiny club from the south side of Madrid to get a point It is now almost certain that Barca's La Liga title will be going to one of their rivals from the Spanish capital, who have both risen above the Blaugrana during the past season. 

Atletico go to Levante and Real host Valencia on Sunday, as only unlikely defeats to both sides will allow any Barca fan to believe anything else. 

Sergio Busquets admitted as much after the final whistle claiming that winning the title is 'practically impossible.'

The result means that the La Liga title race is essentially a two-horse one, with both contenders in action on Sunday.