Barcelona and Atletico Madrid go head-to-head at Camp Nou on Saturday as La Liga's title race reaches its dramatic climax.
The visitors come into the weekend's showdown holding the advantage over their opponents, with a three-point lead over the reigning champions at the top of the table.
However, a win for Barca would see them pip Atletico to the title on the basis of their head-to-head record, following a 0-0 draw at Vicente Calderon back in January.
Both clubs have faltered in recent weeks, with Gerardo Martino's men dropping points in each of their last two matches, conceding a last-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw at home to Getafe before being held 0-0 at Elche last time out.
That stalemate opened the door for Atletico to clinch their first crown since 1996, but they too were left frustrated, drawing 1-1 with Malaga last time out after they had lost 2-0 at Levante one week earlier.
Those results set up what promises to be a tense finale on Saturday, with Diego Simeone's men knowing a win or a draw will see them end their 18-year wait for a 10th Liga title.
The Argentinian, a key part of the Atletico squad to lift the trophy back in 1996, has presided over an outstanding campaign, guiding the club to both the summit of La Liga and a UEFA Champions League final date with bitter rivals Real Madrid on May 24.
His opposite number Martino, however, has come under fire with Barca's hopes of a treble dashed in the space of eight days last month.
Atletico contributed to part of that disappointment, with their 1-0 in the Champions League quarter-final second-leg victory sealing a 2-1 aggregate success. Barca's misery was then compounded by a 2-1 reverse to Real in the Copa del Rey final a week later.
Sandwiched between those two losses was a 1-0 reverse at the hands of Granada, a result that seemingly left their league hopes in tatters.
However, a 17th home Liga win of the season would see Barca lift their fifth title in the last six campaigns.
Atletico defender Miranda, meanwhile, does not believe his side have missed their chance to claim glory by taking just one point from their last two matches, but insists they have to be wary of a dangerous Barca outfit.
"It has been a long season and at the beginning nobody believed that we would be in the fight for the league. We have to play well and look for victory," he said.
"They are a difficult team to play on the counter against because they're so good. They're a strong team, but we will try to play well and win."
Miranda also said he expects star striker Diego Costa to be fit for the clash after a niggling hamstring problem, although Cristian Rodriguez is still struggling with a similar injury.
For Barca, Neymar (toe) and Jordi Alba (hamstring) have not featured since the Copa final and remain doubts, while Gerard Pique's fitness is also uncertain after he cracked his hip in the Champions League quarter-final first leg between the two sides.
|Coach: G. Martino|
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