Just like all the top 4 leagues, the top 4 teams in La Liga automatically qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
So aside from the La Liga title, the league’s top teams still have a lot to play for. Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid are usually undisputed top four favorites and they’ve all finished in the top 4 since the 2012/13 season.
In recent years, Sevilla has also become top 4 favorites, while Valencia has been in and out of the Champions League spots in recent seasons.
So, which 4 Spanish teams are going to qualify for the Champions League this season? Read on for our La Liga top 4 betting preview.
The top 4 teams in La Liga automatically qualify for the UEFA Champions League. So the four teams in the league with the most number of points are the ones that earn the right to play in the Champions League.
Two or more teams can finish the season with the same number of points, but they can’t share the same position.
In order to separate tied teams, La Liga uses the following tiebreakers:
Unlike many other leagues, predicting Spain’s top three has been relatively easy. For the past 9 seasons, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid have all finished in the top three, so it would take a major surprise to disrupt this order.
Even with the loss of Lionel Messi, Barcelona is still strong enough and can easily achieve a top-three finish.
However, surprises can happen. Sevilla has been improving season after season and looks like the team that can easily break into the top three.
The likes of Villareal, Real Sociedad, and Real Betis have also improved in recent seasons, but, realistically, the major target for such teams is a fourth-place finish.
Atlético Madrid – Diego Simeone has an impressive record with Atlético Madrid. Since his appointment, he’s never failed to finish in the top three in all the full seasons that he’s coached the Madrid-based club.
Last season, he guided Atletico Madrid to their second league title under his management, and his side were worthy champions.
This season, Antoine Griezmann joined his former club on loan, and they’ve made other key signings as well. Rodrigo de Paul joined from Udinese and Brazilian forward Matheus Cunha was signed from Hertha Berlin.
Real Madrid – Real Madrid has a good Champions League record. Not only have they won the competition a record 13 times, but they’ve also never failed to qualify for the competition since 1996. So, as always, Real Madrid is the heavy favorite to finish in the top four this season.
Last season, Los Blancos finished in second place. Carlo Ancelloti is back at the club and will be eager to lead Real Madrid to the title once again.
Barcelona – Barcelona has also never failed to qualify for the Champions League since the mid-90s. However, they have a lot to do this season as they begin life in the post-Messi era.
They have a strong squad, but since there are a lot of new faces and a lot of youngsters, it will take a considerable amount of time for things to click for Ronald Koeman’s side.
They finished third last season, and, realistically, replicating that finish will be their main aim this season. When their squad gels, they’ll be ready to challenge for league titles once again.
Sevilla – Sevilla has finished in the top four in three of the last five seasons, including the last two consecutive seasons. Los Nervionenses was impressive last season and were also part of the title race till the last few weeks of the season.
This season, they’ll be looking to finish better than finish and will have a keen eye on a wounded Barcelona.
So this might be Sevilla’s greatest chance to break into the top three.
Villarreal – Villarreal will play in this season’s Champions League, but not because they finished in the top four.
The Yellow Submarine defied the odds by going all the way in the Europa League last season, including a dramatic victory over Manchester United in the final. That victory earned them a place in this season’s Champions League.
This time, they’ll want to make sure that they qualify for the competition through their league placement. They finished 7th last season but will have their eyes on the top four. However, the last time that they finished in the top four was in the 2015/16 season.
Real Sociedad – Los Txuri-Urdin has stepped up their game in recent seasons. They finished fifth last season, and they played some great attacking football in the process.
They also won the Copa Del Rey, which was their first piece of silverware in over thirty years.
They have an exciting crop of young players, such as Mikel Oyarzabal and Alexander Isak, who’ll be eager to help Real Sociedad qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
Valencia – Valencia was once top four favorites, but they’ve struggled in recent seasons because of financial struggles. They finished 13th last season, which is their worst ever league placement in over 30 years.
However, they have a new head coach who’ll want to take the club back to its former glory. The last time that Valencia finished in the top four was in the 2018/19 season.
Real Betis – Betis redeemed themselves last season after struggling in the 2019/20 season. Los Verdiblancos finished in sixth place, which is something that they’ve only done once in their last 13 La Liga seasons.
Athletic Bilbao – Los Leones finished mid-table last season and also lost two cup finals. Their main aim this season will be to qualify for Europe and possibly challenge for a top-four spot as well. However, they’ve only finished in the top four spots once in the last 10 seasons.
|Season||Top Four Teams|
|2020/21||Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla|
|2019/20||Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Sevilla|
|2018/19||Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid, Valencia|
|2017/18||Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid, Valencia|
|2016/17||Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Sevilla|
|2015/16||Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Villarreal|
|2014/15||Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Valencia|
|2013/14||Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao|
|2012/13||Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Real Sociedad|
|2011/12||Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Málaga|
The La Liga top-four race is interesting to follow and has become a common wagering option for many soccer bettors.
If you want to place such a bet but you don’t know how to do so, here’s your step-by-step guide: