High-flying Malaga still dreaming of Europe

Malaga midfielder Ignacio Camacho believes the club thoroughly deserve a return to European football for next season.

Julio Baptista, Jeremy Toulalan, Malaga

Coach Manuel Pellegrini's side face a defining final six games of the campaign over the coming weeks that will determine their fate.

A Champions League spot remains a possibility with sixth-placed Malaga five points behind fourth-placed Real Sociedad, but there are also several clubs breathing down their neck in challenging for a Europa League place.

That includes Sunday's visitors to La Roseleda in ninth-placed Getafe, who are six points adrift of a Malaga side which suffered their heaviest loss of the season last weekend in losing 5-1 at Valencia.

"The next six matches will determine if our hard work throughout the season will pay off," said Camacho.

"Each match is crucial and we are determined not to throw away everything we've been working towards all season.

"We can qualify for the Europa League by winning at home, but if we want to aim higher then we need to win in away games too.

"We've worked so hard all year, to not qualify for European football would be totally unfair on us as a team."

Malaga enjoyed a remarkable run to the quarter finals of this year's Champions League before losing out to Borussia Dortmund.

With memories of that still fresh, Camacho knows what is at stake, adding: "Reaching European positions next season will be great for the club and the fans.

"However, the Champions League is the Champions League, and we had the most amazing experience in this competition this season.

"We're completely focused on finishing as high up the league table as we can, and we're not going to settle for the Europa League if there is still a chance we can make the Champions."

Joaquin Sanchez is available again after recovering from tonsilitis, but fellow midfielder Jeremy Toulalan remains sidelined through injury.

Although hailing Malaga as a team that "oozes quality", the onus for Getafe coach Luis Garcia Plaza is to simply get back to winning ways after a run of four games without a victory, losing the last two.

"Against Betis we played very well (in a 0-0 draw), then against Atletico Madrid (another 0-0 draw) it was a very serious game," said Garcia Plaza.

"At Valladolid (a 2-1 loss) we were not up to par and the other day (losing 2-0 at home to Espanyol) was very strange.

"We have to go back to being as intense as we were three games ago."



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