- Associated Press - Thursday, February 27, 2014

MADRID (AP) - Atletico Madrid will put its title hopes on the line when it hosts Spanish league leader Real Madrid on Sunday.

Madrid leads Atletico and Barcelona by three points.

Barcelona will be looking to rebound from a demoralizing loss at Real Sociedad when it hosts Almeria.

Here are five things to know about the 26th round of Spanish games:

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KNOCK-OUT PUNCH

Real Madrid has looked unstoppable lately, stretching its unbeaten run to 27 games in all competitions following Wednesday’s 6-1 rout of Schalke.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale are supplying the goals while Madrid’s defense has kept opponents at bay. Goalkeepers Diego Lopez and Iker Casillas have shown no rust despite sharing the duties between three competitions.

“Our three forwards are so dangerous in attack,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “(Schalke) might have been Bale’s best game of the season, he’s showing a lot more confidence in his play.”

The three Madrid forwards have combined to score 70 goals in all competitions to make Madrid the title favorite.

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ON THE ROPES

A full week without football might be just the rest Atletico’s players needed as their title charge has hit a bit of a slump.

Atletico lost at Osasuna 3-0 to slip three points behind Madrid, and another loss will all but keep it from breaking a Madrid-Barcelona monopoly on the league that has lasted a decade.

“We know how important the derby is,” Atletico striker Diego Costa said. “If we lose, winning the league will be much more difficult. But I don’t think we ever thought of ourselves as title contenders.”

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