Most of Europe’s leagues either have finished or are finishing up within the next two weeks. That means there are a lot of vital games throughout Europe — as well as a whole lot of duds.
Because of that, we’re going to do a special wake-up report this weekend. We’re going to take a look at each of Europe’s five big leagues and highlight the matchups that still mean something for either the Champions League or relegation battles. Then, we’ll briefly check in on a few other key races for titles or UCL positions in some of Europe’s second-tier leagues. Away we go.
If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you probably know that most everything in the Premier League is already locked up. All four Champions League places have been claimed, with Chelsea nabbing the title a few weeks ago. At the other end, Burnley andQPR are already on their way down, with two teams who could join them. Hull City need to win at home against Manchester United in order to have a chance to overtake Newcastle, who host West Ham and currently hold a two-point edge over the Tigers for the final relegation spot. Hull will have a
We already covered this league’s Champions League race in great detail earlier in the week, so we’ll just briefly remind you that there are two terrific Serie A fixtures this weekend. Already-crowned Juventus host Napoli (9:00 AM PT Saturday) with the visitors needing a win to stay in the UCL battle, while third-place Lazio and second-place Roma (9:00 AM PT Monday) do battle in the Derby della Capitale. Things are already settled at the bottom of the table, where Cagliari, Cesena, and Parma — who finished last after a season of massive financial turmoil — are all on their way out of the top flight.
Germany has been dull at the top lately, with Bayern being crowned champions weeks ago. More recently, Wolfsburg and Monchengladbach have confirmed themselves in second and third (though the order still up for grabs), and Leverkusen have clinched fourth and a berth in the qualifiers. The bottom is a completely different story, however.
While the top two spots in the league have already been secured by Barcelona and Real Madrid, there’s a lot at stake elsewhere in Spain this weekend. Much of the drama surrounds fourth-place Valencia’s visit to 19th-place Almeria. If Valencia win, they will relegate Almeria and take Spain’s final Champions League place, and they could jump into third place if Atletico Madrid lose at 16th-place Granada. However, if Almeria knock off Valencia, things get murky at both ends of the table. Sevilla sit just one point behind Valencia and visit Malaga and could sneak into the UCL with a win and a Valencia loss. Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the spectrum, Almeria and Eibar need to win to avoid relegation. They are tied with 32 points, two behind Deportivo and Granada, and would jump over Granada or Deportiva, who go to Barcelona, if either lose. Unlike most other leagues, La Liga’s first tiebreaker is head-to-head record, so draws from Granada or Deportiva complicate things further. There are too many permutations to go through all of them, but a day of drama awaits in La Liga regardless. All of the important matches will be played Saturday at 9:30 AM PT.
The top of France is wrapped up, with PSG and Lyon finishing one-two, respectively, but there is still a three-headed race for third place and a spot in the UCL qualifiers. Monaco currently have the spot and are two points above Marseille and St. Etienne. They host 16th place Lorient knowing three points will suffice, but a draw could open up the table for Marseille, who play Bastia and hold the edge over Monaco on goal differential. The outsiders,
Turkish Super Lig
Three teams are dueling it out in Turkey for both the title and the Champions League playoff place with two games to go, but there’s a clear hierarchy of favorites. Galatasaray hold a three-point lead over Fenerbahce at the top of the table, with Besiktas four back of Fenerbahce. Gala have already clinched a UCL berth, but Fenerbahce can still catch them. Both have difficult matches this weekend, as a pair of Istanbul derbies take place. First, Galatasaray host Besiktas (10 AM PT Sunday) before Fenerbahce visit fourth-place Istanbul Basaksehir (10 AM PT Monday), who are locked into a Europa League berth. Certain results this weekend could set up a Super Lig finale to remember.
Russian Premier League
With two fixtures left in Russia, Zenit have been crowned champions and will take their place in Pot 1 of next year’s UCL draw. The fight for Russia’s second berth in that competition is still up for grabs between CSKA Moscow and FC Krasnodar. The teams are tied on points, but Moscow have are 13 better in the GD column, and both teams have a tough game remaining. First, Krasnodar play 12th place FK Rostov, and CSKA visit a quality Rubin Kazan side, who are still fighting for a Europa League place of their own. Then the aforementioned Rostov host CSKA on the final day, while fourth-place Dinamo Moscow entertain Krasnodar. If CSKA don't slip up, the spot is theirs, but we have previously written about Krasnodar’s wild season, so it really seems like anything can happen here.
Belgian Jupiler League
There’s one match left in Belgium’s playoff, which features the top six teams doing battle in a 10-game Championship for the title and a Champions League playoff place. KAA Gent, who finished second during the 30-game regular season, won their first Jupiler League title with a win over fifth-place Standard Liege on Thursday, and they’ll host second-place Anderlecht with a chance to knock their opponents out of the Champions League. Third-place Club