FA Cup Final: Chelsea vs. Manchester United (Saturday 5/19/18, 9:15 AM PT)
This is what most want in a cup final. Two of England’s biggest sides will do battle Saturday on the nation’s biggest stage at Wembley for a chance to head into an offseason of uncertainty on a high note. It’s been a much better season for Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United than it has for his old side; after all, United finished second in the Premier League, while
DfB-Pokal Final: Bayern Munich vs. Eintracht Frankfurt (Saturday 5/19/18, 11 AM PT)
Well … another season and another cup final for Bayern Munich, who will roll into the match huge favorites over Eintracht Frankfurt, who finished a respectable eighth place in the table this season, only falling off late after a strong start. In Niko Kovac’s final match as Eintracht boss before he moves to Bayern this summer, he’ll look to give his old team a parting gift. Frankfurt did well against the Bavarians in their first match up the year, only losing 1-0, but Bayern will have all the confidence in the world after smacking them around 4-1 just a few short weeks ago. Even scarier, Bayern played almost all their reserves in that match. Anything can happen in a cup final, but in truth, Frankfurt built their Champions League bid despite not beating a single top side. It’s hard to think that trend won’t continue.
Third and fourth places (games start Sunday 5/20/18, 11:45 AM PT)
Lazio vs. Inter
Sassuolo vs. Roma
What was a very complicated-looking Serie A table gained a good bit of clarity last weekend. Third-place Roma played to a scoreless draw with Juventus; that should have opened the door for either Lazio or Inter to close the gap between themselves and the
18th place (games start Sunday 5/20/18, 9 AM PT)
SPAL vs. Sampdoria
Napoli vs. Crotone
Udinese vs. Bologna
Cagliari vs. Atalanta
At the other end of the table, we have a similar story. Last week, the situation looked perplexing, to say the least; now, it’s much easier to decipher. Crotone currently sit in 18th and the final relegation spot due to 17th-place SPAL owning the tie-breaker between the teams. Therefore, if Crotone lose at Napoli — which, even with Napoli unable to move from second place, seems like a reasonably safe prediction — they’ll go down to Serie B. However, if Crotone find a way to get a result, all hell could break loose. That would put pressure on SPAL to earn a result again ninth-place Sampdoria or else they’d be relegated. Ahead of them, Cagliari may need a point (or three, if both Crotone and SPAL win) against seventh-place Atalanta, while Udinese could also find themselves in trouble if they lose to Bologna and the other three sides do grab results. The pressure is on Crotone to turn this into a real final-day battle, but if they can figure out a way to navigate past Napoli, the scrap could turn explosive in a hurry.
Ligue 1 (all games start Saturday 5/20/18, 12 noon PT)
Second and third places
Troyes vs. Monaco
Lyon vs. Nice
Marseille vs. Amiens
We’ve been writing about France for three weeks now, and finally someone blinked. In fact, both Lyon — who lost to lowly Strasbourg — and Marseille — who drew Guingamp — failed to find results, paving the way for Monaco to sneak ahead of the pack. The principality side holds a two-point lead on Lyon and three on OM, meaning a single point will see them at worst be in Champions League qualification. Unfortunately for Marseille, they are well behind the eight ball, and even though they should get three against Amines, there’s little they can do if Lyon hold serve at home. Their one hope is that OL do have the toughest matchup by far, playing sixth-place Nice, and they will need to bring it right to the final whistle to achieve their UCL dreams. It is theirs to take, but it won’t be easy.
Toulouse vs. Guingamp
Caen vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Troyes vs. Monaco
There are a couple of factors at the bottom in France, where at the moment, Caen sit safe on 37 points, Toulouse are in the relegation playoff on 34, and Troyes, who are in line to take the drop, are hanging on by a thread at 33. Troyes can’t get to safety completely, and their poor goal difference means they have to beat Monaco to jump Toulouse and find themselves in the relegation playoff. Toulouse are looking up, however, knowing if they beat Guingamp and Caen lose to PSG, they will be sitting in a safe position come final whistle. Caen, however, need just a point against what should be a weaker PSG side, coming off a loss, to stay up. With squad rotation, anything is possible for all three of the sides.
First and second places (all games start Saturday 5/20/18, 9 AM PT)
Goztepe vs. Galatasaray
Fenerbahce vs. Konyaspor
Istanbul Basaksehir vs. Kasimpasa
Besiktas vs. Sivasspor
It’s simple for Galatasary, who are three points clear of both Fenerbahce and Istanbul Basaksehir: one point
Second place (games start Sunday 5/20/18, 9 AM PT)
Charleroi vs. Standard Liege
Anderlecht vs. Genk
Outside of our weekly Americans Abroad check-in, we don’t often talk about the Belgian Jupiler League on this site. This weekend, though, it’s worth paying attention to as two sides battle for one Champions League place. Those two teams are Standard Liege and Anderlecht, who sit in second and third in the table, respectively, after nine rounds of the 10-game Championship playoff setup. Standard have a two-point edge, but they also have to travel this weekend. They’ll face Charleroi, who have just two wins in the Championship playoff portion of the campaign, but both of those victories have come in the past five games. Anderlecht, meanwhile, host a Genk team that’s lost just twice during the playoff and defeated Anderlecht themselves less than a month ago. The cards certainly favor Liege, and they’ll like their chances, but the final day of any season is, if nothing else, unpredictable. There could well be a twist left in this tale.