With leagues across Europe entering the final stages, league titles, European qualification and relegations are still to be decided across the continent. Here are five of the best matches to look out for across Europe this weekend.
Five Matches to Watch This Weekend
Borussia Dortmund v RB Leipzig
It’s been a difficult season for Borussia Dortmund, having sacked their manager and enduring a stuttering league campaign. However, with just three matches of the Bundesliga season remaining, Champions League football may not be out of the picture.
Eintracht Frankfurt currently occupy the crucial fourth-spot ahead of Dortmund but only by the slender margin of one point. Having featured for all but one of the last 10 Champions League campaigns, matches are running out for the 1997 winners to qualify for Europe.
RB Leipzig, on the other hand, have had their continental qualification sorted for nearly a month and look set for their highest ever finish in the Bundesliga – second behind perennial winners Bayern Munich. The side from East Germany travel to the Westfalenstadion on Saturday afternoon knowing anything but three points will confirm Bayern as champions once again.
Whilst this particular fixture may not be of much significance for Leipzig, the two will meet again in less than a week’s time to play out the DFB-Pokal final. Dortmund will be hoping to salvage their season with two victories in a week against the Roten Bullen.
Manchester City v Chelsea
It’s been quite the week for these two sides. After Manchester City confirmed their first-ever appearance in the Champions League final on Tuesday night, Chelsea completed the all-English double-act the following evening.
Already being tipped as their biggest competitors for the Premier League next season, City can secure this campaign’s title with a victory over Thomas Tuchel’s side on Saturday night. In what has been a stellar campaign for the Manchester club, a fourth league win in nine years beckons for the Blues.
This fixture holds huge importance on the fate of the clubs competing in the 2021/22 edition of the Champions League. They may have reached this year’s final, but Chelsea aren’t yet guaranteed a place in Europe and along with delaying City’s coronation, the five-time Premier League winners will be on the lookout for three points in their remaining matches.
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid
La Liga is the gift that keeps on giving this season. With just four matches left to play, the top four are separated by six points, with first vs third and second vs fourth coming up against each other this weekend.
Just like they have done for the majority of the campaign, Atletico Madrid lead the way, but only by two points ahead of city rivals, Real Madrid. It had looked at one point like Atletico’s opponents on Saturday, Barcelona, would take advantage of their stumbling form and steal the title from under their noses.
They still could, but heading into the final turn, Atletico still have their noses out in front. In what has been a pretty turbulent season for Barcelona, a title for Ronald Koeman in his first season at the club would be an unexpected but welcome surprise.
Real Madrid v Sevilla
Waiting in the wings should Atletico slip-up are the record La Liga champions, Real Madrid. Having stumbled out of Europe in midweek, the league remains the last opportunity Los Blancos have at silverware this season.
Just like their El Classico enemies Barcelona, reigning title holders Real haven’t enjoyed a fantastic season themselves, yet Zinedine Zidane’s side hold a key advantage over the other teams in the race. Due to La Liga’s unusual competition rules, should they finish level on points with Atletico, Real would win the title as their head-to-head record is superior.
Remarkably, still in with a chance of their first title success since 1946 are Sevilla – sitting in fourth, six points below first, they may be outsiders but a win in the Spanish capital on Sunday would cut the gap and put them back in contention.
If they were to shock Real and clinch victory, it would be extra-sweet for their manager, Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked by the club in 2018.
Juventus v AC Milan
After trying to force a move away from the Champions League, record Italian champions Juventus face the very real prospect of missing out on qualification for the competition next season.
Having already lost out on the chance of a tenth successive Scudetto, the club from Turin are two points ahead of fifth-placed Napoli and face a tricky test against fourth-placed AC Milan. It’s eight years since the Old Lady last failed to qualify for the Champions League, whilst Milan haven’t finished in the top four since 2013.
With Napoli holding the more favourable run-in, a draw doesn’t favour either side. Matches may be running out, but both Juventus and Milan will be hoping for a place in Europe next season.
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