The 2013-14 La Liga season will come to a close this weekend, with the final matches being played out over the course of three days. Unlike most major leagues around Europe, both the title race and the race to avoid the drop are still wide open, so fans can expect to see plenty of drama on the league's final matchday.
All of the European tickets have been allocated, as we'll explain in detail, so the tie between Real Sociedad and Villarreal will be played purely to determine who will finish the season in sixth and seventh place.
Real Betis will be playing in the Segunda Division next season, but fans won't know who will be joining them until the last whistle of Sunday's slate of midday matches has blown.
Let's have a look at the standings and fixture list heading into La Liga's Week 38:
|16 May||8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET||Malaga||v||Levante|
|17 May||3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET||Real Madrid||v||Espanyol|
|17 May||5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET||Barcelona||v||Atletico Madrid|
|17 May||9 p.m. BST/4 p.m. ET||Valencia||v||Celta Vigo|
|18 May||11 a.m. BST/6 a.m. ET||Real Sociedad||v||Villarreal|
|18 May||5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET||Almeria||v||Athletic Bilbao|
|18 May||5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET||Osasuna||v||Real Betis|
|18 May||5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET||Rayo Vallecano||v||Getafe|
|18 May||5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET||Valladolid||v||Granada|
|18 May||8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET||Sevilla||v||Elche|
The race for the Spanish league title is fairly straight-forward: Atletico lead Barcelona by three points and will face the Blaugrana at the Camp Nou on Saturday.
If Barcelona win at home, they will be crowned champions of Spain on the back of a superior head-to-head record. Any other scenario will see Atleti hoist the league trophy for the first time since 1996.
Who will win the Spanish title?
Both teams will be meeting for the sixth time this season, with four previous matches ending in a draw and the remaining fixture going to the visitors, a 1-0 win in the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League.
Based on the teams' previous meetings this season and the fact Atletico will only need a draw, the league-leaders should be slight favourites going into the tie. Fielding the league's best defensive unit, per WhoScored.com, Diego Simeone and his squad will like their chances of holding the Blaugrana goalless.
The advantage is but slight, however. Barcelona are far more experienced in these kinds of elimination matches and high-pressure situations, and Atletico's slips in recent weeks have been very uncharacteristic.
Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez believes his club deserves to win the title based on their body of work and ability to persevere amidst difficult circumstances, via BBC Sport:
We have got a historic opportunity and now we cannot mess it up.
The league is over nine months and we have worked hard to get here. It has been a difficult year off the field but we deserve to win the league title.
Somehow, Atletico's recent slips and Barcelona's incredible comeback feel too significant to overlook, and one would be hard-pressed to bet against the Blaugrana on Saturday.
European tickets scenarios
As we said in the introduction, all of the European tickets have been allocated, with the top four already set and the three teams behind them mathematically sure of entry to the Europa League.
Atletico, Barcelona and Real Madrid will progress directly into the UEFA Champions League group stages, while Athletic Bilbao will enter the tournament's final play-off stages.
There seems to be some confusion on the distribution of the three Europa League tickets allocated to Spain, with several news outlets reporting the final Europa League ticket will go to the winner of the match between Sociedad and Villarreal.
As insidespanishfootball.com's TomConn reported back in February, however, the Copa del Rey final between Champions League-bound Real and Barcelona means that ticket will move to La Liga, where Villarreal hold a seven-point lead over Celta Vigo.
In other words, Sevilla, Real Sociedad and Villarreal will all be playing Europa League football next season, with Sociedad and Villarreal determining which team will have to start in the third qualifying round and which will go directly into the play-offs.
Similar to the title match, Sociedad hold a three-point lead over Villarreal and will finish sixth in every scenario but a win for the visitors, who would hold the advantage in goal difference (the first match between both teams was won by Sociedad, 1-0).
This is where things get tricky, as outlined by Football Radar's William Abbs:
It's possible that four of Valladolid, Osasuna, Getafe, Granada & Almeria could end up tied on 39 points with one relegated on head-to-head.— William Abbs (@WilliamAbbs) May 11, 2014
No idea what the head-to-head permutations are at the moment. Frankly, my head hurts already.— William Abbs (@WilliamAbbs) May 11, 2014
To keeps things as simple as possible: Almeria, Getafe and Granada can all secure La Liga football in 2015 with a draw in their final match, as Granada would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Osasuna in case both teams end on equal points.
Osasuna will need to beat already-relegated Betis and hope at least one of Granada or Getafe lose their match, as Almeria also win the tiebreaker.
Valladolid, on the other hand, need to beat Granada and will secure their safety with a loss from Getafe or Osasuna failing to beat Betis.
In other words: Almeria and Getafe hold their own fate, as does Granada, whose match against Valladolid will have the biggest impact on which teams will go down.
Osasuna and Valladolid both need to win their matches and will need some help from other teams in order to avoid the drop.
Valladolid will be at home against Granada, arguably the biggest advantage any of the relegation-threatened teams will have. Osasuna, on the other hand, will be facing off against a team with nothing left to play for, which could help the situation turn in their advantage.