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Real Betis ready for ‘final’ against Barcelona as top four race hots up

Xavi’s side can secure a top-four finish on Saturday

FC Barcelona v Real Betis - La Liga Santander Photo by Xavi Urgeles/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Barcelona can confirm their place in next season’s Champions League with a victory over Real Betis at the Benito Villamarín on Saturday night.

The Copa del Rey winners were held to a draw with Getafe on Monday which means Barca can mathematically secure a top-four space with three games to go.

Xavi’s priority since taking over has been to secure Champions League football for next season which the club needs for financial as well as footballing reasons.

Of course it won’t be as easy as all that. Betis are in the midst of a superb season and are also in the running for a top four place.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men have already won the Copa del Rey and beat Barcelona 1-0 at the Camp Nou earlier in the season.

FC Barcelona v Real Betis - La Liga Santander Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Midfielder Sergio Canales spoke after the draw against Getafe and made it clear his team see Saturday’s match as a huge chance in their top-four push.

“We are three points away from the Champions League, which is clearly our goal,” he said. “Everything goes through that game at home against Barcelona, ​​which is a final for us.”

Barcelona haven’t been in the best form of late but returned to winning ways at the weekend with a comfortable 2-1 victory over Real Mallorca.

FC Barcelona v RCD Mallorca - La Liga Santander Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

The three points mean Barca are in great shape to finish in the top four but Xavi made it clear after the win that he wants his team to finish second.

“There are five teams in the race and it has to be us. Real Madrid have already won the title. Congratulations to them, they are worthy winners because 38 games do not lie,” he said. “Now it’s about winning that five-team mini-league, qualifying for the Champions League and finishing second.”

It promises to be another tough test but Barca can be confident given Betis have been beaten 10 times in La Liga already this season. Barca are also in great form on their travels and have not lost away from home in La Liga since going down 1-0 to Rayo in October.