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FC Barcelona are on course to win the treble this season and the first of those three titles could be secured this evening with a win at Atlético Madrid, or if they get a better result than Real Madrid, who are away to Espanyol in the penultimate round of games in the Liga fixture list. Both games kick off on Sunday evening at 7.00pm CET
Luis Enrique has cited the full squad of 25 players are for the trip — the 23 members of the first team, including Luis Suarez, as well as Munir El Haddadi and Sandro Ramírez from Barça B in honour of their contribution to the present campaign.
Meanwhile, Atlético coach Diego Simeone has confirmed that Fernando Torres will start the game after some key performances in recent games, while Cani and Ansaldi have both been left out of the home side.
Head coach Luis Enrique has not hidden his desire to get the title bid finished as soon as possible. "It is final, gives us the opportunity to win a league title," he said, before adding, "Atlético Madrid are playing for third place. It’ll be an open and interesting match.”
When asked about his team's approach this weekend he said dryly, “We'll approach this match like any other, except this time...we have the chance to secure the league title,” he said, before warning, “At the Calderón, if you lack intensity, it's tough to win. It is the first game where we'll be able to win the title. That’s a huge motivation."
When asked about the curious situation of Barcelona being able to secure the title at the Calderón a year after Atlético did the same at the Camp Nou, Atlético boss Simeone joked that "it’s destiny that has decided that a year later Barcelona and Atlético should be in this situation, where Barcelona could also become champions if Real Madrid slip up, which means we’d all be happy! But our opportunity is the chance to secure third place”.
Barça have been in extraordinary form of late. They suffered their first defeat in 18 games midweek at Bayern Munich, but even that felt like a win as it saw them through to the Champions League final. Barça have won their last five league games, scoring 20 goals and conceding none, and after Real Madrid drew 2-2 with Valencia last week, are now on the verge of winning the Liga title for the seventh time in eleven seasons, what would be the 23rd win in club history.
However, Atlético have not lost in 13 games, and a win against Barça would ensure that they clinch third place in the league table and thus ensure a direct spot in the Champions League group stages next season. They are currently four points clear of Valencia, who are away to Celta, with all Liga games kicking off at the same time on Sunday.
Tonight’s game will bring back memories of the meeting between the two sides on the final day of last season’s Liga, when both sides still had a chance of winning the title. Atlético Madrid drew 1-1 at the Camp Nou to clinch their tenth championship of all time.
When the two sides met earlier this season at the Camp Nou, Barça won 3-1, with Messi setting up Neymar and Suárez to score the first two goals and adding the third in the 87th minute. They also met in the quarter finals of the Spanish Cup, Barça winning both legs, 1-0 at home and 3-3 at the Calderón.
No matter where you are in the world we have you covered. And remember, you can enjoy live commentary in English on Radio Barça. The link will appear at fcbarcelona.com just before kick-off. Twitter users can follow @FCBarcelona for a live feed of all the action.
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