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Barca poised to reclaim title

Barcelona can secure the league title on Sunday with a win at Atletico Madrid, ending Real Madrid's one-year reign as Spanish champions.

Barca could clinch the title as early as Saturday if Real Madrid fails to win at mid-table Espanyol, but the Catalans will be focused on wrapping up their fourth La Liga crown in five years with a strong performance at third-place Atletico.

Having sat alone atop La Liga for much of the season, Barca has taken most of the drama out of the title race. But the team's heavy 7-0 aggregate defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League semifinals has left some feeling a bit disappointed as the campaign comes to a close.

However, Barca's Jordi Alba feels that his team's performance in the league deserves a great deal of praise.

"I would give our season a very high mark," Alba said. "Maybe in the Champions League semifinals we were not up to the level, the 4-0 [first leg against Bayern] hurt a lot. The opponent was very strong, they were in a 'state of grace' and we were not at their level. [But] it seems like the league is not being given its due value because we are so many points ahead of Madrid. We are a long way ahead of second place. In the dressing room we are happy with the work done."

Since a 2-1 defeat at Real Madrid in March, Barcelona is unbeaten in its last eight league games, and the club will be expecting to wrap up the league title with three matches still to play.

With the top three places secured, the race for fourth place continues as Real Sociedad holds a two-point advantage over Valencia with four matches to go.

Valencia will try to put pressure on Sociedad with a win at Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, while Real closes out the weekend's action on Monday with a home match against Granada, which sits three points above the relegation places.

The picture at the bottom of the league continues to come into focus as last- place Mallorca travels to Athletic Bilbao, second-from-the-bottom Celta Vigo meets Real Betis and 18th-place Deportivo tangles with Valladolid.

Osasuna is one point above the drop zone and entertains Getafe, while top-half sides Malaga and Sevilla square off at La Rosaleda.

In Friday's match, Real Zaragoza moved two points clear of the relegation zone after earning a 0-0 draw at Levante.