MADRID, April 3 (Reuters) - After leapfrogging Barcelona to go second in the Primera Liga last weekend, Villarreal are daring to dream about the possibility of wresting the Spanish title from the grasp of Real Madrid.
But if Manuel Pellegrini's side are to confirm themselves as serious candidates they will need to see off Sevilla when the two sides meet at the Sanchez Pizjuan on Sunday (kickoff 1700 GMT).
At the start of the season qualifying for Europe was the limit of Villarreal's ambitions, but the erratic form of Real and Barca has opened the door to an unexpected championship bid.
At the end of the January, Villarreal were 15 points adrift of Real but a nine-match unbeaten run has left them just six behind the leaders with eight games left to play.
'We know that if we keep on like this we will have a chance of winning the league,' Uruguayan defender Diego Godin said this week.
'For a side like Villarreal to have options of winning the title is a really big thing and that's why we are not under the same pressure as Real and Barca.'
Villarreal will be without Mexico striker Guillermo Franco but Nihat Kahveci and Giuseppe Rossi have been in fine form with the Turkish international notching up a classy double in his side's 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid last weekend.
Sevilla's bid for a Champions League place has stalled following back-to-back defeats against Real and Atletico Madrid, but they still possess one of the best attacks in the league with strike partners Luis Fabiano and Frederic Kanoute notching up a total of 33 league goals this season.
Leaders Real, who have lost five of their last nine matches, travel to Real Mallorca on Saturday (2000) anxious to build on last week's 3-1 win over Sevilla.
'If we play like we did against Sevilla...then we will be champions,' Real coach Bernd Schuster told sports daily AS on Wednesday.
'The important thing is to realise that we are the best and to understand how to manage our advantage.'
Barcelona's title ambitions were dealt a heavy blow when they threw away a two-goal lead in a 3-2 defeat at Real Betis last weekend.
The Catalans, who have won just one of their last five games, are at home to Getafe on Sunday (1900) in a clash between Spain's remaining two representatives in European club competition.
Ronaldinho rejoined training with the rest of the team this week after recovering from muscle pains but it remains unclear if he will be fit enough to play a part.