Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa faces fitness race before Malaga clash
MAY 09, 2014 1:46p ET
Atletico says Costa did not train with the squad on Friday after medical scans revealed a problem with his right hamstring. Costa, the Brazilian-born Spain striker, has scored 36 goals in all competitions this season, including 28 in league play.
It's the same injury that sidelined Costa against Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinals.
If results go their way, Atletico could be crowned Spanish champions for the first time since 1996 this weekend, but the more realistic scenario is that they will face a winner-takes-all showdown with Barcelona on the final day.
That match comes a week before Atletico attempt to lift their first Champions League crown when they meet arch-rivals Real Madrid in Lisbon, and it would be understandable if Rojiblancos supporters have already switched their attention to those bigger challenges to come rather than Sunday's visit of mid-table Malaga.
However, Juanfran insists the players cannot think like that, saying: "If we win our last two games we will be champions, but first comes Malaga.
"It would be an error to think beyond Malaga, who will come here to win."
Atletico go into the penultimate round of matches boasting a three-point lead over Barca following a dramatic week in the title race which saw all of the top three teams unexpectedly drop points.
Perhaps the most significant results involved third-placed Real Madrid, whose two draws with Valencia and Real Valladolid over the last six days has left Carlo Ancelotti's treble-chasers four points behind Atletico and needing little short of miracle to claim the title.
Atletico midfielder Koke is taking nothing for granted though, saying at a promotional act: "Real Madrid still haven't lost the league and we aren't discarding them while they have a mathematical chance. We need to look at all three teams."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.