Real Madrid and Barcelona's
powers of recovery will be tested against awkward La Liga
opponents this weekend after the two favourites were painfully
dumped out of the Champions League in front of their own fans.
Nine-times European champions Real return to the Bernabeu on
Sunday to play Sevilla after falling to bogey side
Bayern Munich in a nerve-jangling penalty shootout in
Jose Mourinho's men can take some consolation from having a
first La Liga title in four years well within their grasp, as
they hold a seven-point lead over second-placed Barca with four
matches left to play.
Barca's chances of retaining their league title look to have
ended after a 2-1 home defeat by Real last weekend.
They then saw their European crown snatched from them after
their bogey team Chelsea survived with 10 men to triumph in
their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.
Pep Guardiola's team travel to play La Liga's dashing
upstarts Rayo Vallecano at their cramped stadium in Madrid on
"We have four games left until the end of the season,"
Mourinho told reporters after the Bayern game.
"We need six points and we need to do it as we have been
doing, on our own. Working and fighting as we have done up until
"If we win the championship it will have been a very good
season and the players will be able to be pleased with the work
they have done."
Securing the league title would show progress in the task he
was set after being brought in by club president Florentino
Perez specifically to end Barca's hegemony at home and abroad.
Inconsistent Sevilla are ninth in the standings, six points
off the Champions League qualification spots and a massive 42
points behind the leaders but impressive on their day.
Barca face a tricky task at 15th-placed Rayo on Sunday as
they come to terms with one of their worst runs of form in the
Guardiola era after three successive games without a win.
With the league title a distant hope, the Catalans will
start preparing for the King's Cup final on May 25 against
"We are Barcelona and we know what that represents, so we
will be going out to win all our remaining league games. That's
the best way to prepare for the final," Spain midfielder Andres
Iniesta told Barca television.
The way the players react to recent disappointment may also
influence whether Guardiola finally makes a decision on renewing
his contract with the club, which runs out at the end of the
"It's a decision between him and the club," Iniesta added.
"He knows what we all want and let's hope he stays here for a
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