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SPORTS

Real Madrid Can Clinch Spanish League Title As It Seeks Another Champions League Crown

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Chasing another Champions League crown, Real Madrid already has its fingertips on the Spanish league title.

The 14-time European Cup winner could clinch the Spanish league on Saturday when Madrid hosts Cadiz and Barcelona visits Girona if everything goes its way.

Madrid can lock up title No. 36 with four games left in two scenarios: If Madrid beats Cadiz and Barcelona fails to beat Girona, or if Madrid draws with Cadiz and Barcelona loses at Girona.

Madrid leads Barcelona by 11 points and has the tiebreaker with Barcelona in its favor entering the round. Madrid has been the runaway favorite since it beat Girona, then its top challenger, in February and quashed a half-hearted rally by Barcelona in a clasico victory last month.

With the domestic title apparently a question of time, Madrid’s priority is its Champions League semifinal with Bayern Munich. Madrid earned a 2-2 draw in Germany thanks to Vinícius Júnior’s brace on Tuesday. Bayern comes to Madrid next Wednesday to decide who will face Paris Saint-Germain or Borussia Dortmund in the June 1 final.

Led by Jude Bellingham, Vinícius and veteran midfielder Toni Kroos, Carlo Ancelotti’s side has lost only once in 33 league games in this campaign.

Ancelotti rotated his starting lineup for the last round where Madrid won at Real Sociedad, so it is likely that he will also rest some key players against a Cadiz side that is in danger of relegation. The team from southern Spain is in 18th place, inside the drop zone, and five points behind Celta Vigo, the last team clinging to safety.

FOR SECOND

Xavi Hernández has acknowledged this season will finish without a title, even if he changed his mind and decided to stick around as Barcelona coach.

Barcelona is fighting Girona for the runner-up honors. The Catalan derby will decide who will be in pole position to finish second and earn a spot in the lucrative Spanish Super Cup.

Barcelona leads third-placed Girona by two points. Girona, the sensation of the league, beat Barcelona on the road 4-2 in December.

Girona’s Artem Dovbyk is leading the chase to be the league top scorer. The Ukraine striker has 19 goals, two more than Bellingham.

LAST CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SPOT

Atletico Madrid is at Mallorca as it tries to tie up fourth place and the final Champions League spot. Fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao trails Atletico by six points before playing at Getafe on Friday.


By JOSEPH WILSON Associated Press

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