Almost every country treats the release of the fixture list like a national holiday, crafting the rumors, conspiracy theories, and potential outcomes months in advance just to spark interest. Luckily for Spain, the press need not conjure up such ridiculous and outlandish stories since the boneheads who run the RFEF do all the work for them. And believe me, bonehead is an understatement.
For better or for worse, depending on how you see the rivalry progressing, Real Madrid and Barcelona will resume their war of attrition before the season kicks off with the two-legged Spanish Super Cup. Here’s the fun part: the first leg will be played in Madrid on August 14th at 10pm, while the second leg will kick off in Barcelona on the 17th at…11pm!!!! That is not a mistake. The reason for this is that UEFA Champions League qualifiers will be held that day, and UEFA forbids any other matches to be played in the same time slot. So rather than exert a little bit more energy to sit around a table and find new dates, the league pushed the return leg to 11pm. And they still wonder why they can’t attract more viewers around the globe…
The first regular season Clásico will take place on December 11th in the capital, just four days before Barcelona are scheduled to play in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, so expect plenty of verbal sparring as they try to change the date. The second leg is scheduled for April 22nd in Barcelona, which will be the third-to-last fixture of the season wedged between the Champions League Semifinal legs. Tasty!
Don’t expect a slow first weekend either as the docket is loaded with derbies and a potential top three clash. The reason I say “potential” is that Málaga has never come close to finishing that high up the table, but with the arrival of new owners from Qatar accompanied by a war chest of money to spend, Málaga could very well be the surprise team to fight the duopoly. What better way to start that campaign than welcoming Barcelona on the very first day?! As for the derbies, both Madrid clubs will face the two Basque outfits, Real Sociedad vs Atlético and Real Madrid vs Athletic, while down in Andalucia, Betis reacquaint themselves with top flight football by welcoming their hated crosstown rivals Sevilla.
Five of the next eight matches will be tricky for Barcelona, who usually find their rhythm in late November into December. Following Málaga they return home for Villarreal, but then travel to Sociedad and Valencia, and host Atlético and Sevilla at home. Real Madrid won’t face stiff competition until week nine at Málaga followed by a home match against Villarreal.
La Liga supporter depression aka the Christmas break begins December 19th, with the league scheduled to resume play on January 6th, at which point English players will be “exhausted” from lack of a break and the press will already have their excuses for the team’s early dismissal from the European Championships in the Summer.
Overall, it appears the schedule was not fixed, and the league should benefit from big early season matchups.
For a full list of the fixtures, click here. Just a little over a month away from the first Clásico! Buckle up.