La Liga essentially remained static this past week, with the top three of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla all remaining in their order atop the league table, although Sevilla did fall farther behind after a 3-1 to Atlético Madrid over the weekend.
Now with two week to go until the quarterfinal round of the Champions League gets underway, and three of Spain's top four are still battling for the trophy. Real, Barça and Atleti will be playing the week of April 10th, and as one would imagine all drew tough opponents.
Real Madrid and Barcelona drew the most recognizable, powerhouse names with Bayern Munich and Juventus, respectively. Both Spanish clubs will travel on the road for the first leg, which could be an advantage if they are able to slide one or two goals past the keeper before returning to their own friendly confines. Both teams are flying high, with Real unbeaten in their last six matches, winning five. Barcelona on the other hand do have a load on confidence after completing the comeback of the century over Paris Saint-Germain. However considering the last few weeks they lost to PSG 4-0, then won 6-1 and then subsequently went on to lose the following domestic league match, their play has been unpredictable and inconsistent.
While Leicester City may not be in the running to win the Premier League again (quite the opposite, they're fighting relegation), they are hungry, scrappy and looking for blood. That means Atlético can not afford to lapse anymore than their Spanish counterparts can against Bayern and Juve. Leicester will play Atleti harder than any opponent they have yet, at least physically. What's more, the English side love to utilize the aerial attack, something that los rojiblancos may not be prepared or suited for.
For Real, Bayern may have the advantage as they have played less games than Madrid due to them not playing on the other side of the world in the FIFA Club World Cup. Zinedine Zidane has taken measures to give his stars some rest, as Cristiano Ronaldo has been taken out of the last few matches before full time. Gareth Bale is also making his way back into the lineup after a couple months sitting out due to injury.
Being the richest club in the world Madrid has the luxury of being able to throw out multiple superstars as substitutes in the lead up to their tie with Bayern. They have had trouble in Germany this year, facing tough tests from Borussia Dortmund in their group stages.
It's really quite a toss up for each Spanish team, but it would be great to see them possibly play each other in the semifinals.
Photo: Flickr/Nazionale Calcio