Just one point separates five LaLiga teams chasing the final European ticket
There is only one matchday remaining this LaLiga Santander season, yet there is still a lot to play for.
In the race to qualify for the 2023/24 UEFA competitions, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético de Madrid and Real Sociedad are already confirmed as participants in next year’s Champions League, while Villarreal CF and Real Betis will finish fifth and sixth and qualify for the Europa League.
However, it remains to be seen who will take the final European spot, which is seventh place and which grants access to the Conference League. Here comes a look at the five contenders, who enter the final matchday separated by just one point.
CA Osasuna (7th, 50 points)
Despite losing in the penultimate round, CA Osasuna remain in seventh place. They have the same number of points as Athletic Club, but hold the head-to-head tiebreaker after defeating the Basques 2-0 in Matchday 36. Now, CA Osasuna have a home game against another direct rival, Girona FC, but know that a win will guarantee a return to Europe a decade and a half later.
Remaining fixture: Girona FC (H)
Athletic Club (8th, 50 points)
Athletic Club are no strangers to European football, however the Basques haven’t had to look out their passports since 2018. With Ernesto Valverde back at the helm this season, Los Leones want to qualify for Europe again, but losses to CA Osasuna and Elche CF means they are currently just outside the top seven. They'll need to do something special in the Bernabéu on the final matchday to have a chance.
Remaining fixture: Real Madrid (A)
Girona FC (9th, 49 points)
Girona FC have fallen out of the top seven, but they still have a chance of making history. The Catalan club have never before qualified for Europe, but they’re only one point behind the final European ticket and visit seventh-placed CA Osasuna to finish the season. After winning promotion through the LaLiga SmartBank playoffs last season, Míchel’s side have been playing some thrilling football this term, and they’re currently the fourth-top scorers in the division with 57 goals scored from 37 matches.
Remaining fixture: CA Osasuna (A)
Rayo Vallecano (10th, 49 points)
Another team that still has a chance of European qualification is Rayo Vallecano. The team from the capital city have been in Europe once before, in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup, and they’re aiming for a return this year. Their trip to take on RCD Mallorca will be outgoing coach Andoni Iraola’s last game, and he’d love to depart by leaving the club in Europe.
Remaining fixture: RCD Mallorca (A)
Sevilla FC (11th, 49 points)
Just a few weeks ago, Sevilla FC were more concerned about the threat of relegation than about the possibility of finishing in the European positions, but, their results have improved significantly under new coach José Luis Mendilibar. By the time of the final round, Los Nervionenses might even have secured Champions League qualification if they win the Europa League final. But, they'd love to finish as high as possible in any case.
Remaining fixture: Real Sociedad (A)