Europe's top five leagues all conclude this week and there are still plenty of matters to be resolved – not least who will be crowned champions in Spain and France.

Every division has something riding on the final days of the season, whether it be top spot, European qualification, or relegation.

Ahead of what is set to be a dramatic conclusion to the Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the Bundesliga campaigns, we look at the state of play in each league.

 

PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City wrapped up the Premier League title with three games to spare, making them the first team in the competition's history to win the title despite being as low as eighth on Christmas Day.

All three relegation places were also decided with three games remaining – a Premier League record – with Fulham joining Sheffield United and West Brom in dropping down a division.

That leaves just the European spots to fight for, and it is shaping up to be an entertaining end to the English top-flight season in that regard. Manchester United are guaranteed a top-four finish, but five other teams – Leicester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham – are in the mix for the two other Champions League berths with two rounds of games to go.

There is also the small matter of the Europa League places for the teams finishing in fifth and sixth, as well as a spot in the inaugural Europa Conference League, which goes to the team in seventh, meaning everyone from 10th-placed Leeds United to Leicester in third have something to play for. That includes Arsenal, who have not missed out on European football of some sort in 25 years.

LALIGA 

The Spanish title race appeared to take a dramatic twist on Sunday as Real Madrid leapfrogged Atletico Madrid at the summit for around 20 minutes. However, Atleti scored two late goals to beat Osasuna, meaning they are two points ahead of their city rivals heading into the final round of games.

Atleti, who have led the way at the top for 29 matchdays, now need to match Madrid's result against Villarreal when they travel to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid on the final day of the season. It is worth noting that Los Blancos have the superior head-to-head record, so a draw would not be enough for Atleti if Madrid win.

Barcelona are officially out of the title race, meanwhile, but they are assured of a top-four finish along with Sevilla. Real Sociedad and Real Betis occupy the Europa League spots, while Villarreal are in a Europa Conference League berth, though just one point separates the three teams so that could all yet change.

To complicate matters, Villarreal could still qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League final against Manchester United.

At the bottom end of the division, Eibar are already relegated and they will be joined by two of Valladolid, Elche or Huesca. Valladolid must beat Atletico in their final game to have a chance of staying up, while the onus is on Elche to better Huesca's result as they are level on points but have an inferior head-to-head record.

LIGUE 1

The Ligue 1 title battle is also going right down to the wire in a three-way dogfight. After a thrilling race that has lasted the course of the season, underdogs Lille lead heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain by one point with one matchday left.

Monaco have won seven of their previous eight games and are three points off leaders Lille, though they require both Les Dogues and PSG to slip up on the final day, as well as beating Lens. Should it come down to goal difference, PSG hold a big lead over their two title rivals.

Incredibly, PSG are still not yet technically assured of a Champions League place as Lyon in fourth are only three points worse off, although it would take a defeat for the reigning champions and victory for Lyon, plus a goal swing of 16, for them to miss out.

Monaco's opponents Lens, incidentally, also have plenty to play for at the weekend as they are sixth – enough for Europa Conference League qualification – but can still be caught by Rennes in seventh, while they could yet overtake Marseille in fifth if results go their way.

At the opposite end of the table, there may only be one spot left to be settled in the bottom three – Dijon and Nimes are both already down – but six teams are still very much in danger of the drop. Nantes occupy the relegation play-off spot, with Lorient, Brest and Strasbourg just a point better off, and Bordeaux and Reims only two points clear.

SERIE A

With Inter being crowned Scudetto winners for the first time in 11 years at the start of the month, the biggest storyline in Serie A regards Juventus' top-four fate. The dethroned champions, who had finished top nine years running before this season, are currently down in fifth.

Juve are one point behind Napoli and Milan in the two spots directly above them, while Atalanta are three points better off in second and have the better head-to-head record against the Bianconeri.

Andrea Pirlo's side are therefore in need of favours on the final day in what is poised to be a nail-biting finale in terms of those Champions League places. Lazio will finish sixth, so they are assured of Europa League football next term, while Roma hold a two-point advantage over Sassuolo in the Europa Conference League position.

Parma and Crotone are both down already and one of Benevento or Torino will join them, the latter currently three points outside of the relegation zone and with a game in hand to play on Benevento.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig provided Bayern Munich with some stern competition for a while, but the Bavarian giants' quality eventually told and they are Bundesliga champions for a ninth year running.

It's not only the title race that's done and dusted in Germany, in fact, as RB Leipzig are certain of second place, and both Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg will join them in the Champions League next season.

Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, will finish in fifth and sixth respectively regardless of events later this week.

However, Union Berlin have work to do if they are to finish seventh for a place in the Europa Conference League play-offs as Borussia Monchengladbach are a point further back, while Stuttgart and Freiburg are two behind with a game to go.

Seven-time German champions Schalke will be competing in the second tier of German football next season, but Cologne and Werder Bremen are hanging on in there, sitting two and one point behind Arminia Bielefeld respectively in 15th place.

Werder Bremen have sacked coach Florian Kohfeldt and appointed Thomas Schaaf as they bid to avoid the Bundesliga relegation play-off for a second straight season.

Kohfeldt was relieved of his duties following Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Augsburg, Werder's eighth in nine league games.

Having taken one point from a possible 27, Werder are in the relegation play-off spot, a point adrift of Arminia Bielefeld and one ahead of Cologne, meaning they can still be automatically relegated to the 2. Bundesliga.

Kohfeldt helped Werder avoid the drop last season as they narrowly came through a play-off with Heidenheim.

But he will not have the chance to secure safety this time around, with Werder installing legendary coach Schaaf for the final game of the season against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Schaaf's first spell as coach lasted from 1999 to 2013 and saw him lead Werder to a Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in 2003-04. 

He won six trophies in that stint and also guided Werder to the UEFA Cup final in 2009.

"Unfortunately after the game in Augsburg, we were no longer convinced that we would be able to stay up with Florian Kohfeldt," said sporting director Frank Baumann.

"We are happy that Thomas is taking on this task in such a precarious situation for the club.

"We hope that he can bring his experience to the table and get the players ready for the last game of the season."

Bayer Leverkusen winger and Jamaica international Leon Bailey could be set for a spell on the sideline after sustaining a toe injury against Werder Bremen last weekend.

The 23-year-old suffered the injury after a collision early in the match but played until halftime before he was withdrawn.  Bailey, who it is feared might have suffered a fractured toe, did not take part in the team’s training session on Wednesday.

Leverkusen will be looking to secure UEFA Europa League qualification at home to Union Berlin on Saturday.  Should he be unable to take the field, the Jamaican will be a major miss, particularly given his form at home this season. 

Bailey has scored five goals in the last two home games.  Leverkusen have won all three of their fixtures at the Bay Arena under interim coach Hannes Wolf.  Bailey, who was also not called to the Jamaica national team, for its friendlies next month due to a contractual issue, has played eight times for the country since making his debut in 2019.

Emil Forsberg struck a late winner at the end of extra time as RB Leipzig overcame determined Werder Bremen 2-1 to reach the DFB-Pokal final in dramatic fashion.

After a scoreless 90 minutes, Leipzig took the lead with a goal from Hwang Hee-chan early in the first extra period, only for a Dayot Upamecano error to gift Leonardo Bittencourt the chance to equalise.

A penalty shoot-out appeared to be on the cards until Forsberg popped up in added time, Hwang heading the ball back across the face of goal for his fellow substitute to convert from close range.

The win means Julian Nagelsmann remains on course to deliver a first major trophy for Leipzig before his departure, the Bayern Munich-bound coach set to lead his current employers against either Borussia Dortmund or Holstein Kiel in the showpiece fixture in Berlin on May 13.

 

 

Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig were kept apart in the draw for the DFB-Pokal semi-finals on Monday.

Dortmund will go up against Holstein Kiel hoping to avoid suffering the same fate as holders Bayern Munich, who were knocked out of the competition by the second-tier side.  

In the other tie, Leipzig – who sit second in the Bundesliga – will take on the winner of the quarter-final clash between Regensburg and Werder Bremen, which is scheduled to be played on April 7. 

Bayern have lifted the trophy in the previous two campaigns, including beating Leipzig 3-0 in the 2019 final. 

However, their hopes of triumphing again were dashed by Kiel, who scored a dramatic late equaliser in the second-round tie before going on to seal a famous win on penalties. 

Dortmund, winners in 2017, will host Kiel on Saturday, May 1. Leipzig will be in action the following day, with the final set for May 13 in Berlin.

Hansi Flick paid tribute to coaches Toni Tapalovic and Miroslav Klose after Bayern Munich earned a 3-1 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday.

The Bundesliga champions extended their lead at the summit to five points thanks to goals from Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski at Weser Stadium.

The first of those came via a corner routine that saw Thomas Muller's near-post flick-on headed powerfully home by Goretzka.

Speaking after the match, Flick revealed that goalkeeping coach Tapalovic and assistant Klose came up with the set-piece.

He said: "It was a safe and more than deserved victory that could have been bigger. 

"We implemented what we set out to do, to have a good position on the pitch and to put our opponents under pressure. 

"I'm particularly pleased that we took the lead with a corner kick, and Toni Tapalovic and Miro Klose came up with something. That is thanks to them and a compliment to their work."

However, Flick was not impressed with the late concession of a consolation goal, which saw Bayern's high line exposed.

He added: "Of course the goal annoyed me. But our back four and the team in the entire defensive network did very well, we hardly allowed any chances. 

"I am very satisfied with the result, compliments to the team."

Goalscorer Goretzka echoed his manager's sentiments, expressing both delight over the well-worked nature of the opening goal and frustration over Werder marking the scoresheet.

He said: "It was a convincing performance. It's not easy in Bremen because we've struggled [there] over the past few years. 

"The opponent was very deep, so of course a goal like that [the corner] is good. We had a good plan in possession of the ball, so we were able to prevent the counterattack very well, except at 3-1, which annoys us a lot because we wanted to play to zero."

Robert Lewandowski moved joint-second in the Bundesliga's all-time top scorers list as Bayern Munich claimed a 3-1 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday.

The Pole matched Klaus Fischer's tally of 268 goals as he joined Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry on the scoresheet in a comfortable win that extended the champions' lead at the summit to five points.

Lewandowski now needs another 97 goals to match Bayern legend Gerd Muller's incredible tally of 365.

Werder were given hope that they might put the champions under pressure when Ludwig Augustinsson produced the first shot on target of the match, cutting in before releasing a weak right-footed effort.

But it was all Bayern from there, with Gnabry and Joshua Kimmich signalling the visitors' intent as they each fired just over the bar in quick succession.

Hansi Flick is not interested in "speculation" he could take over as Germany head coach as he eyes more trophies for Bayern Munich.

Flick is among the names linked with the Germany job after long-serving boss Joachim Low decided to step down after Euro 2020.

Bayern supremo Flick masterminded a magnificent Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and UEFA Champions League treble last season.

The Bavarian giants have also won the FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and DFL-Supercup in a dream start to Flick's tenure.

Bayern are top of the Bundesliga and remain in the hunt to win the Champions League, so Flick is focused on the job in hand rather than the possibility of succeeding Low.

He said in a press conference on Friday: "I have a contract until 2023 and want to be successful and win titles with Bayern Munich. It's not the time to speculate about my future."

Flick added: "I'm interested in the here and now. I am now looking after my team and the game against Werder Bremen [on Saturday]. As I said, speculation is not an issue for me."

Asked if he was surprised Low will walk away from the job, he said. "Yes, yes. He did a very good job for German football. Can be very proud of what he has achieved."

Full-back Benjamin Pavard is back in the squad for the clash with Bremen at the Weserstadion after being out of action following his positive coronavirus test.

David Alaba missed training on Thursday due to a muscular injury, but will be monitored in a session on Friday.

Bayern have scored 13 goals in their last three games and Flick expects the leaders to show intensity from the start as they go in search of a fourth consecutive victory.

He said: "Bremen have a very good defence, they stay compact and don't give away much space. We found that in the home match. It's important that we are aggressive off the ball and find good solutions with it."

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