Lionel Messi chases 11th La Liga title as Spanish football resumes
Our duty was to return back prepared for this moment. it had been tough, but we've made it."
That is how La Liga president Javier Tebas describes the return of the highest division of Spanish soccer.
Spain has recorded a complete of over 240,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including over 27,000 deaths, but with new daily cases of the virus now below 50, and after just over three months without football, La Liga resumes Thursday.
Following on from the Bundesliga's example, games are going to be played with fans absent.
Since the Bundesliga resumed, home advantage appears to possess disappeared. Of the 46 Bundesliga games to possess taken place, only 10 are won by the house team, while 22 are won by the away side.
One twist within the La Liga run-in is that second-place Real Madrid will stage home games at its 6,000-seater Alfredo Di Stefano stadium -- where the club's second team plays -- while renovations continue at the 81,000-seater Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Who are going to be champions?
As the league returns, Barcelona sits at the highest of the table with 58 points, two before Real Madrid, while third-placed Sevilla is nine points adrift of Los Blancos.
If the reigning champion can win the league for the third time during a row, it'll be Lionel Messi's 11th La Liga title of his career, meaning he would only be one behind the record of 12, currently held by Real Madrid legend Francisco Gento.
It is one among the few La Liga records Argentina has yet to interrupt , and is one that Barcelona fans would undoubtedly love him to steal from their arch rivals in Madrid.
Real Madrid players won't let this happen without a fight though -- as midfielder Lucas Vazquez recently told Real Madrid TV that his side would be treating each remaining game as if it were a final .
If Barcelona win La Liga, Messi will have won 11 Spanish league titles during his career -- one in need of Real Madrid legend Francisco Gento.
"That's the start line for those 11 games that we've left," he said. "Eleven finals, we take them like that, and hopefully from here to the top we will get all the victories and obtain the league title."
Of the 2 teams, Barcelona arguably features a slightly harder run-in.
Both El Clasico games have already taken place, but Barcelona still has got to face 2013-14 La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, who are during a battle themselves to secure one among the four Champions League qualification spots. Diego Simeone's team is sixth within the table.
Barca are going to be strengthened by the return of Luis Suarez though, who had been set to miss the rest of the season following knee surgery, but has been ready to recover in time after the suspension of the league due to the pandemic.
The title fight is not the only La Liga storyline.
Thursday's fixture is that the Seville derby, between Sevilla and Real Betis.
Sevilla hasn't qualified for the Champions League in two seasons, and can be wanting to finish the season strongly.
Also vying for one among the remaining qualification spots is Getafe, a team that has never qualified for the Champions League and was playing within the second division just two years ago.
Getafe CF are pushing to qualify for the Champions League for the primary time within the club's history.
At rock bottom , having finished seventh last season, Espanyol currently prop the La Liga table with only 20 points from 27 games.
Relegation would be a disaster for a club that has played within the top division since 1993.
The relegation zone is formed from Leganes on 23 points and Mallorca on 25, with Celta Vigo only one point above.
Base put Espanyol are confronting transfer from La Liga just because since 1993.
The fan understanding
With matches being played away from plain view, La Liga has thought of an arrangement to give the fans the most legitimate experience conceivable in the conditions.
"What we have concluded is to give these two alternatives on how the observer needs to see the game: If they need to see it for all intents and purposes with sound, or without sound," said Tebas.
"We have worked with a Norwegian organization that represents considerable authority in virtual crowd and EA Sports and [video game] FIFA, in light of the fact that when you play FIFA you hear the genuine arena environment in each spot.
"I figure we will see a decent computer generated simulation, yet they [the fans] will have the option to pick what they need."
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