Monday, May 7, 2012

European Soccer Season Winds Down

Many of Europe's top soccer leagues wind down their seasons this weekend, though some have already ended. Of course, of the utmost importance in European soccer is firstly the league title...but a close second is a berth in the UEFA Champions League. Here is a breakdown of how things look at the top of each league table in arguably the best four leagues in the world of soccer:

England - Manchester City and Manchester United enter their last match of the season tied atop the table, but City owns a commanding lead in the goal differential tiebreaker. City finishes the season hosting a Queens Park Rangers squad that may need at least a draw to avoid relegation. United travels to Sunderland to take on a team in the middle of the table with little to play for. Assuming both win, City will take home its first league title in 44 years. Both City and United have secured their places in the Champions League. Champions League berths are also up for grabs with Arsenal (67 points), Tottenham Hotspur (66), and Newcastle United (65) vying for one or two spots (if Chelsea defeats Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final on May 19, the Blues are guaranteed a chance to defend their title in next year's tournament and automatically take one of those spots).

Italy - Juventus ended a nine-year drought by clinching the Serie A title last weekend by virtue of their win and Inter Milan's victory over AC Milan. Juve and AC Milan have secured two of Italy's three Champions League berths, while the third one is Udinese's to lose. Should Udinese lose this weekend, Lazio or Napoli could sneak up and steal the spot.

Spain - Real Madrid held off Barcelona for the title, though both Champions League semifinalists have secured berths in next year's tournament. Valencia has also clinched a CL berth, with the fourth spot led by Malaga. Atletico Madrid, Levante, and Mallorca have slim hopes if Malaga slips up this weekend.

Germany - The Bundesliga season has completed, with Borussia Dortmund winning the title for the second year in a row. Bayern Munich is preparing to host the Champions League Final next Saturday, but they have already clinched a spot in next year's tournament by finishing second in the Bundesliga. Schalke 04 and Borussia Monchengladbach also secured berths.

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