Analysis: Four things to look out for in Spain’s Matchday 34

1. More than just the title in play in Barcelona derby

A win for FC Barcelona away to local rivals Espanyol will assure Barca this season’s La Liga title (if Real Madrid and Atletico’s results don’t gift it to them before kick-off). However, there is much more than the title at stake as Espanyol go into the game desperately needing points for their battle against relegation.

Luis Garcia’s men are currently three points from safety with five games to play, and defeat to their rivals would probably see that gap extend with a game less to play.

There is no love lost between the two clubs, and while Barca fans want to see the league title confirmed as soon as possible, helping send their rivals a step closer to relegation would be the icing on the cake.

2. Europe once again the priority for Real Madrid against Getafe

With Barcelona virtually assured the title, Real Madrid have switched their focus to knockout competitions, winning the Copa del Rey last weekend and playing the first leg of their Champions League semifinal at home to Manchester City on Tuesday.

That game ended 1-1, leaving everything to play for in Manchester next week, and there is no question that Carlo Ancelotti will carry out serious rotations in his side for their league match against Getafe in the Santiago Bernabeu.

The return of Jose Bordalas as Getafe coach has made them harder to beat, but they are still third from bottom, and the need to take something from the Bernabeu could give them a chance against a rival focused on other goals.

3. European places up for grabs in several matches

Who qualifies for Europe, and for which competition in Europe, could also be a bit clearer after the weekend games, which see fourth-placed Real Sociedad play at home to seventh-placed Girona, while fifth-placed Villarreal entertain eighth-placed Athletic Bilbao and Betis are at home to Rayo Vallecano.

Real Madrid’s win in the Copa del Rey final means the side that finishes seventh in La Liga will qualify for the Conference League next season, while those finishing fifth and sixth will go into the Europa League.

A win for Real Sociedad would put them close to assuring they finish fourth, while Athletic need to win in Villarreal to keep their hopes of playing in Europe intact.

Meanwhile, with Rayo Vallecano and Osasuna still in with a chance of finishing seventh, there is no room for slip-ups.

4. Relegation dogfight as close as ever

If the race for Europe is tight, then the battle to stay up is closer than ever, with four sides within two points of each other and Espanyol three points further behind.

Espanyol face a difficult game at home to Barcelona, while third-bottom Getafe visit Real Madrid.

That may give a chance for Valencia, who are level on 34 points with Getafe, to get a breathing space from their visit to play Celta Vigo, although Celta also need a win to ensure their top-flight future.

With 35 points, Cadiz have a difficult visit to Mallorca, while Valladolid need to end a run of three defeats when they entertain Sevilla, in a weekend that could make clearer who stays up and who goes down.