European football season for 2015-16 draws to a close this weekend with leagues in England, Spain, Italy and Germany playing their final round of fixtures. Champions in three of four of these top leagues have been decided barring Spain. Let’s have a look at what’s left to play for on the last round of matches
English Premier League
In the Premier League, Leicester City have already scripted history to become the surprise champions this season. Leicester travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea – the team who had told Claudio Ranieri that he’s not good enough to win the league title – with a guard of honour awaiting the Foxes.
At the bottom of the table, the teams dropping down to the Championship have also been decided with Aston Villa, Norwich City and Newcastle United going down. Sunderland, having spent most of the season in the bottom three, ensured survival on Wednesday night.
But the only topic of contention as far as English football goes is for the fourth place – an important UEFA Champions League qualifying spot – between Manchester United and their neighbours City. Manchester City, currently occupying fourth with 65 points, are away to Swansea while United host Bournemouth sitting two points adrift of the Citizens. For United, it is a tough situation to be in, they need to win and hope for Swansea to beat City. This could have been much easier for United had the Reds maintained their lead at West Ham United on Wednesday.
TIME: Manchester United vs Bournemouth, Swansea City vs Manchester City (7.30 PM IST on Sunday)
Spanish la Liga
A few weeks back, Barcelona were running away with the title with neither Real Madrid nor Atletico Madrid able to catch up. But after a miserable four game winless run, the title race will be decided on the final day. Atletico had bowed out of contention after a surprise defeat to already relegated Levante, leaving Barcelona and Real Madrid to fight it out in the end.
Barcelona stand top with 88 points, one more than Real. And on the last day of their season, both teams are away from home with Barcelona taking a trip to Granada while Real face Deportivo. Much like United’s case, Real’s hopes pin on the other result going in their favour. Even if Barcelona lose and Real draw, leaving both with 88 points, the title would go to the Catalans owing to a better head-to-head record. The champions will be decided on Saturday.
At the bottom of the heap, the relegation battle has three teams fighting for survival – Rayo Vallecano (35 pts), Sporting Gijon (36 pts) and Getafe (36 pts) with Levante already certain of dropping to Segunda division. In terms of fixtures, Getafe are away to Betis, Sporting are at home to Villarreal while Rayo are at home to Levante. The teams relegated will be decided on Sunday.
TIME: Barcelona vs Granda, Deportivo vs Real Madrid (8.30 PM IST on Saturday)
Real Betis vs Getafe, Sporting Gijon vs Villarreal and Rayo Vallecano vs Levante (11 PM IST on Sunday)
Italian Serie A
In Italy, the race for the Scudetto ended four rounds back when Juventus clinched a fifth consecutive title. Away from Juve’s dominance for the title, on the final day, the task at hand would be the tough but possible fight for Roma to pip Napoli for second place and an automatic Champions League qualification (the third place team goes into playoffs). While Roma would have to beat Milan at the San Siro, the Romans would need a miracle from already relegated Frosinone to beat Napoli.
At the bottom of the table, Frosinone and Hellas Verona have already been relegated to Serie B. The last spot would be decided between Palermo (36 pts) and Carpi (35 pts). In what will be final day encounter of near-equals, Carpi need to beat Udinese to stay up with a draw also a good-enough result but that would leave their future dependent on the other game. And to make things trickier and murkier, Palermo are at home to Hellas Verona.
TIME: Milan vs Roma, Napoli vs Frosinone (0.15 AM on Sunday); Palermo vs Hellas Verona, Udinese vs Carpi (0.15 AM on Monday)
Over in Germany, Bayern Munich were once again crowed champions with two rounds to go – their fourth straight title. Below them in the battle for Champions League and Europa League spots, it is a tough battle. Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen will get an automatic group stage entry with fourth placed team to go to playoffs. And this is where four teams are vying for contention – Borussia Monchengladbach, Mainz, Hertha Berlin and Schalke. Monchengladbach are the frontrunners at the moment with 52 points while the rest are on 49 points. The teams finishing fifth, sixth and seventh go into Europa League.
At the bottom of the table, only Hannover are certain to be relegated. Three teams are fighting to stay in the top division – Eintracht Frankfurt (36 points), Werder Bremen (35 points) and Stuttgart (33 points). 17th placed Stuttgart can at best go into the relegation playoff with Nurnberg but for that they’d have to win and win by a considerable margin to leapfrog Bremen and Frankfurt on goal difference.
TIME: Werder Bremen vs Eintracht Frankfurt, Wolfsburg vs Stuttgart (7.00 PM IST on Saturday)