Different story-lines as  La Liga kicks off on Thursday
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Different story-lines as La Liga kicks off on Thursday

La Liga kicks off on Thursday with plenty at stake including an exciting title race, the battle for European races and to avoid the relegation axe. 

The matches will be played behind closed doors but La Liga president Javier Tebas has said that fans may be allowed in some areas if they get the green light from the government.

At the top of the league, Barcelona and Real Madrid are separated by just two points in a tight race to this year's title. 

Neither team has been convincing its season with leaders Barca struggling away from Camp Nou while their rivals are blowing hot and cold. 

Barca have particularly struggled away from home, dropping points on 11 occasions on their travels in all competitions.

At Santiago Bernabeu, Zinedine Zidane will hope that the return of Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio will sharpen his charges attack. Other than Karim Benzema, who netted 12 of his 14 league goals before January, Real's seven forwards - including Hazard, Gareth Bale and Luka Jovic - have scored a measly 12 league goals between them all season.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, have temporarily relocated to the 6,000 capacity Alfredo di Stefano Stadium, located within the club's training complex and normally used by the reserve team.

Similarly, mid-table Levante, based in Valencia, will stage their home games nearly 100 miles away, near Alicante.

The race for Champions League qualification is extremely close, with five teams separated by five points.

Sevilla, who kick off the restart on Thursday against local rivals Real Betis, are in third with 47 points, one ahead of Real Sociedad and fifth-placed Getafe. Atletico Madrid are sixth with 45 points and Valencia close the European hopefuls list with 42 points. 

In the relegation battle, Espanyol risk dropping out of La Liga as they prop the league with 20 points after 27 matches. The Barcelona-based club have spent 85 of La Liga's 89 seasons in the top flight, but they are currently six points from safety and on their third manager of the season (former Barca defender Abelardo) after winning four games out of 27.

Five other teams are in danger, including Ronaldo-owned Real Valladolid, but Espanyol's demise - a year after they qualified for Europe - will take some avoiding.

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  • 8, Aug - 7:30pm
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