Europe’s top five leagues are set for an explosive weekend, with one league champion set to be crowned in England and potentially one more in Germany, while Champions League spots remain up for grabs.
Liverpool and Man City are battling it out for top spot in England while Bayern Munich could seal a seventh straight title in Germany, but the headline clash is in Spain, where second meets sixth in a clash that will have massive implications for the top-four race.
Take a look at our European fixtures to watch for the upcoming weekend.
ATLETICO MADRID v SEVILLA
Where: Wanda Metropolitano
When: Sunday, May 12, 8:30pm GST
Though the La Liga title race is over, the fight for the top four in Spain still holds plenty of intrigue.
Getafe are currently the front-runners for the final Champions League spot, an achievement that would be one of the stories of the year. That they are there is down to an incredible season, but also thanks to Sevilla’s failures – they’ve lost two straight games, first away to Girona, then, in a shock last weekend, at home to Leganes by a 3-0 scoreline.
But all hope is not lost, with Getafe playing champions Barcelona this weekend. Sevilla have a tough fixture themselves; Atletico Madrid have nothing to play for but are always difficult to beat at their home stadium.
With Valencia playing at home against Alaves on Sunday, there’s a chance that the weekend ends with Getafe, Sevilla and Valencia level on 58 points with one game left to play. But for that, Sevilla have to come up with the goods in Madrid.
Meanwhile, in Spain, Getafe beat Girona 2-0 to move three points clear of Sevilla -- With two games to play, it looks increasingly likely that Getafe will be playing Champions League football next season 👏👏👏https://t.co/QJaOH8McAv pic.twitter.com/UhFBMWlB4a— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) May 5, 2019
RB LEIPZIG v BAYERN MUNICH
Where: Red Bull Arena
When: Saturday, May 11, 5:30pm GST
RB Leipzig are more or less locked into third place in the Bundesliga, unless Borussia Dortmund lose both their last games and Leipzig win their final two. The first of those is against Bayern Munich – for whom a win on Saturday will be enough to seal the league title. A normal, low-fuss game, then.
Winning away against the third-best side in the country would be a resounding way to win the league for Bayern, though it may still seem lacklustre after their disappointment in Europe. But they certainly wouldn’t want to leave the door open for Dortmund going into the final matchday.
Even two draws from their last two games would be enough given the gap in goal difference – Dortmund would need an 18-goal swing while winning their final two fixtures – but given Bayern’s final game is against an Eintracht Frankfurt side chasing fourth place, they’d rather go into that match having nothing to play for.
On Matchday 32, Bayern called in a favour from an old friend 🍕 pic.twitter.com/zVTWQ7jGc6— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) May 8, 2019
BRIGHTON v MANCHESTER CITY
Where: Amex Stadium
When: Sunday, May 12, 6pm GST
And speaking of fraught title races, what of the Premier League? Man City know a win will seal a second straight league title, but a draw or loss will open the door for Liverpool – who themselves have a difficult fixture against Wolves at home.
City are on a run of 11 straight wins in the league. Adding a 12th would be some way to finish off the season and win the league, and they would have been relieved by the results of last weekend – not only that they pulled off a nervy 1-0 win against Leicester City, but that Cardiff City lost and Brighton got a draw, ending the battle for relegation.
With Premier League status secured for another season, Brighton have nothing to play for on Sunday. Then again, having survived another grueling campaign, the final home game of the season will make for a festive atmosphere on the south coast, and that could motivate the Seagulls to send their fans home for the summer on a high. Can City overcome that to prevail in what has been a thrilling title race?
MARSEILLE v LYON
When: Sunday, May 12, 11pm GST
Marseille’s hopes of qualifying for Europe are more or less over – they would have to make up seven points in three games against fourth-place St-Etienne – but they will still have a say in that particular race in France.
Old rivals Lyon are caught in a tight battle with St-Etienne for the final Champions League spot, with just a one-point lead over their derby foes, and losing out to Les Verts would make that particular pill doubly bitter to swallow.
Beating Marseille would go a long way to settling the race. They have relatively easy fixtures against Caen and Nimes after this, so Marseille are the final hurdle. Win and a spot in Europe’s premier competition would be that much closer.
FT | Lyon 2-2 Lille - points shared in an often breathless encounter, as OL's lead over St Étienne for the final Champions' League spot is cut down to just 1 point. They go to Marseille next...— Get French Football News (@GFFN) May 5, 2019
ATALANTA v GENOA
Where: Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia
When: Saturday, May 11, 5pm GST
Spain have Getafe’s miracle run to the top four, and Italy’s equivalent is Atalanta. Gianpiero Gasperini’s thrilling young side have made large strides over the last few seasons but actually qualifying for the Champions League would be some story.
It would be the first time in the club’s history, and having been promoted from Serie B in 2010/11, the rise of the Bergamo club – despite Italy’s biggest teams often raiding Atalanta for their best players – would be an excellent advertisement for Italian football, especially as they would be beating out the likes of Milan, Roma, and Lazio.
Nursing a three-point lead over the former two clubs with three to play, the clash against Genoa, who are still in the relegation battle in Italy, would take them one step closer to their goal. Considering they have a Coppa Italia final and a league clash against Juventus still to come, this is a must-win in the top-four race for Gasperini’s side.
Atalanta single-handedly giving us something to enjoy in Italian football now. Every Serie A team - especially Milan, Inter, Roma - should copy Atalanta. They play kind of attracking, attractive, fearless football that will be successful in Europe. Hope they make CL now #LAZATA— Carlo Garganese (@carlogarganese) May 5, 2019
In the penultimate edition of Weekend Wonderkids for the season we have two super keepers, a Real Madrid hopeful and Premier League stars – present and future.
The aim of this weekly column is to shed light on the players, aged 21 or under across Europe’s top five leagues, who aspire to lead the game into a bold new era.
Without further ado, here’s our five picks from this weekend’s action.
Mark Travers (Bournemouth) Age: 19 Position: GK
Key stat: 1 – First clean sheet on first EPL appearance in 1-0 win v Tottenham
There’s no way to ease the nerves quite like witnessing not one, but two opposition players sent off on your Premier League debut – particularly when you’re a teenage goalkeeper facing Champions League semi-finalists. But that doesn’t tell even half the story.
While Mark Travers could afford to get his deckchair out in the second half against Spurs, he certainly wasn’t sunning himself before the break at Vitality Stadium. The Irishman, only 19, showed off feline agility to keep Dele Alli and Lucas Moura from hitting the back of the net.
Mark Travers best saves from his debut performance against Spurs yesterday— GK Clips (@GKClips) May 5, 2019
At 19 years of age he has the potential to be one of the best in the world 🔥 pic.twitter.com/dpdjAmmYhP
It was not just the saves, either – on two occasions he came out of his area to sweep up loose ends and there were no signs of flappy hands in the box.
With Asmir Begovic and Artur Boruc unlikely to extend their stay on the south coast, Travers has a real chance of claiming the Cherries’ No.1 jersey. He had already been called up by an Ireland squad desperately short of up-and-coming talent.
How’s that for a bright future?
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) Age: 20 Position: RB
Key stat: 11 – EPL assists this season after 3-2 win v Newcastle
Name a duo who love assists more than Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson. The marauding full-backs account for the only defenders from a single team who have totted up 10 or more assists in a Premier League season.
Alexander-Arnold is still only 20 and can not only bend it like Beckham, but rack up assists like him too. Becks only surpassed a season’s tally of 11 three times in his career, and he wasn’t doing anywhere near the amount of defending Trent is tasked with.
His first assist in what was a dramatic victory over Newcastle was a corner launched onto the head of Virgil van Dijk, the beneficiary of some admittedly terrible marking.
He then nearly cleared up Dejan Lovren’s mess with a desperate block on the line (which just so happened to be handball …) before the Magpies scored their equaliser off the rebound, yet the Liverpool starlet came up good again shortly after with an incredible first-time cross for Mo Salah to tuck away.
On balance the Liverpudlian is not a particularly instinctive defender, but how many of the world’s best full-backs are? Indeed, Alexander-Arnold is fast becoming part of that particular conversation.
Bartlomiej Dragowski (Empoli) Age: 21 Position: GK
Key stat: 10 – saves on way to clean sheet in 1-0 win v Fiorentina
Dragowski shouldn’t have had a hope in this match. Fiorentina wasted a hatmaker’s shop full of chances without the big Pole needing to intervene against his parent club.
As it was, La Viola were left ruing that they did not insert a clause that would have barred him from playing in quite possibly the game of his young career so far.
The 21-year-old came alive shortly before the hour mark with a double save from Luis Muriel and Giovanni Simeone, before he flung out an ankle to deny Federico Chiesa from point-blank range.
He wasn’t done with Chiesa there as, in what was arguably the highlight of his show-reel, he hurled himself to the right and somehow thwarted a close-range header.
🔎| After dominating against Atalanta 3 weeks ago, when he made 17 saves, Bartłomiej Drągowski is back at it again - what a performance by the Empoli goalkeeper today!#EmpoliFiorentina 1-0— SofaScore🌐 (@SofaScoreINT) May 5, 2019
6 saves from inside the box
9.8 rating#SerieA pic.twitter.com/YdnlvomgnV
Dragowski had struggled to assert himself up against another young keeping talent in Alban Lafont at Fiorentina, but this was another swipe at his doubters – having already set the record for most saves in a Serie A match (17) in Empoli’s stalemate with Atalanta last month.
His heroics may both save Empoli from relegation and his Fiorentina career.
Oscar Rodriguez (Leganes) Age: 20 Position: CM
Key stat: 4 – league goals this season for Real Madrid loanee after 3-0 win v Sevilla
Oscar Rodriguez hopes his long-term future lies at a different venue in the Spanish capital, but he is currently enjoying a character-building stint at little old Leganes – who just so happened to topple a relative giant in Sevilla.
Sevilla, who at one point in the season were gunning at the top with Barcelona, were shot down in a dogged performance by Leganes in which Oscar was at the hub.
Leganes had just 35 per cent possession but Oscar made full use of the scraps he got, making the most successful dribbles (3) and shots on target (2), one of which he slotted home to wrap up a sensational 3-0 win.
Oscar is known as something of a set-piece extraordinaire back at Castilla but this has been a season of open play refinement in a relegation scrap for the attacking midfielder – and the pluck he’s shown may be worth a serious look from Zinedine Zidane.
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) Age: 20 Position: FW
Key stat: 6 shots and 5 successful dribbles in 2-2 draw with Werder Bremen
Christian Pulisic could well prove the only new face Chelsea will welcome during the summer transfer window, the club having confirmed the deal and sent him out on loan again before UEFA imposed a two-window transfer ban (that is still subject to appeal).
In truth there’s not been many highlights for Blues fans to froth over this season, as the USA international has been put firmly into the shade by English whippersnapper Jadon Sancho.
Pulisic, 20, has struggled through a multitude of muscle injuries this season – adding to doubts about his physicality for the Premier League – but he skipped past Werder Bremen brightly enough on Saturday.
In just his seventh Bundesliga start of the season, the winger made like Eden Hazard and stormed through the heart of Bremen’s defence from the centre circle before applying an exquisite finish.
Indeed he produced a stat line that mirrors Hazard on an average day – completing five dribbles, taking five fouls, and popping off three shots on target.
With Hazard likely out of the door over the summer, the 90 minutes will make for some measure of comfort for Chelsea fans. Not so for Dortmund, who could only draw and all but gave up the title to Bayern Munich.
Liverpool star Mohamed Salah will miss the Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona on Tuesday.
The Egyptian suffered a concussion after colliding with Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka during Liverpool’s 3-2 win at St. James’ Park and was stretchered off the field after receiving treatment.
Salah flew home to Liverpool with the rest of the squad after the match and was assessed by the team doctor on Sunday morning.
The 26-year-old will not be able to train until Saturday and could cast major doubt over his involvement in the final match of the season against Wolves on Sunday.
Salah now joins Roberto Firmino (groin) on the sidelines ahead of the clash against the La Liga champions.
“It’s a concussion so it’s a case of him not even being allowed to play,” said Klopp, whose side are 3-0 down after last week’s first leg in Spain.
“He feels OK but it’s not good enough from a medical point view, that’s all.”