The great peaks are only reserved for the chosen ones. La Real has just conquered its particular Alpe D’Huez in La Cartuja and now it is preparing to live the last nine days of the league championship immersed in a final sprint with Betis and Villarreal in search of that green jersey of regularity that will return it to Europe the next season.
Those of Imanol They have already entered the Champs Elysees circuit and have done so alongside their two great adversaries. No one from behind seems strong enough to come back and join the fight. Europe is a matter of three and although the three may win a prize if Barça defeats Athletic in the Cup final on April 17, the truth is that playing the Europa League is not the same as the new Conference League.
A look at what the three contenders have ahead of them throws up a first difficulty for the Gipuzkoan squad. And is that the Real will have to play five games away, while Betis and Villarreal, who will each have a block of three consecutive games at home, will play four. However, the performance of the txuri urdin away from home (22) is being as good as in Anoeta (24) despite having played one more match at home.
As for the entity of the rivals, both Real and Betis have two pending matches against teams from the Champions area, while those from Unai
Emery They have to face three, although two of those games, against Sevilla and Real Madrid, arrive in the last two days, so it seems unlikely that those of Julen
Lopetegi have something at stake and it remains to be seen whether Zinedine
Zidane whether or not they are in the league title fight. Otherwise that calendar would no longer be the same.
The real headwind for Villarreal may be in their participation in the Europa League. Immersed in the quarterfinals, the Castellón players will have to face the return to Dinamo Zagreb before visiting Levante and, if they get their ticket to the semifinals, they will play both games before receiving Getafe and Celta. The hypothetical final would always be disputed after the last day of the League. Nobody is unaware of the extra physical wear and tear that these qualifying rounds can generate and their possible bill in the championship.
In favor of the Real are possible draws on points. The txuri urdin would be successful against Betis -they have the goalaverage in favor- and it remains to be seen what would happen with Villarreal -they have it matched although to date Real has a + 5-.
In the event of a triple tie, as happens now in the standings, it would be Real who would finish in fifth position, with Betis sixth and Villarreal seventh. Those of Imanol They have six points in that particular league between the three, for five of those of Pellegrini and three from Villarreal.
The current scoring rhythm of Real, Betis and Villarreal places the European goal at around 60-61 points, although it will surely take some more to be fifth. Europe will demand to get their elbows out and perhaps, as happened last season, a final blow to the kidney like that of Januzaj in the Metropolitano is needed.
On May 23, the last day is scheduled, just a month and a half of competition in which these last nine days will be elucidated, which forces two of them to be every week. The first, between April 18 and 26, offers Real a double consecutive commitment in Anoeta against Sevilla and Celta to play the third game in Ipurua. The second week-long matchday, the penultimate of the championship, will be played between May 12 and 23 and the Txuri Urdin will visit Atlético, host Valladolid to finish at El Sadar against Osasuna.