Titles, Champions League, Relegation: Stakes left in Europe's top leagues

1:06 | Planet Futbol
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Friday May 19th, 2017

Europe's five major leagues are winding down, with the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga and Ligue 1 concluding this weekend and Serie A going through its penultimate slate.

While the champions of three of those leagues have already been settled (Chelsea, Premier League; Bayern Munich, Bundesliga; Monaco, Ligue 1), and the fourth only a matter of time (Juventus, Serie A), the intrigue mostly resides lower down the table, where the fights for Premier League and Europa League places and the battle against relegation enter the spotlight.

Below are the stakes for each of the five leagues entering a decisive weekend of action:

PREMIER LEAGUE | LA LIGA | BUNDESLIGA | SERIE A | LIGUE 1

European places all that remain unsettled entering Premier League finales

Friday May 19th, 2017

All that's left to settle on Sunday is which of the Premier League super coaches will fail to qualify their team for the Champions League.

Arsene Wenger is in the most danger, with Arsenal entering the final round against Everton out of the top four and with sections of fans wanting the manager to leave after 21 years.

Manchester City and Liverpool have their journeys to the Champions League in their own hands. Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp are a point above Arsenal heading into the Anfield finale against relegated Middlesbrough. Manchester City plays Watford sitting three points in front of Arsenal, so Pep Guardiola's side could tumble out of the top four if a goal-difference advantage of five is wiped out by the fifth-place team.

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If any of the teams can't be separated by goal difference or goals scored, there could be an additional fixture to determine who gets the third automatic Champions League qualification place, rather than having to go through the playoffs, or to settle who clinches fourth rather than fifth.

Chelsea will receive the trophy after playing Sunderland, and Tottenham has already secured its first runner-up finish in 54 years. Tottenham signs off at Hull, which has been relegated alongside Middlesbrough and Sunderland.

Manchester United will finish sixth but could still earn a Champions League berth by winning the Europa League. If not it will have to play another season in the second-tier competition. Everton has qualified by finishing seventh.

La Liga: Real Madrid, Barcelona battle for title goes to last day

Friday May 19th, 2017

The final round is spread across three days, culminating in the title deciders on Sunday evening.

Real Madrid needs only a draw to secure its first league title since 2012, but it faces a Malaga team in strong form at home.

Sitting 11th in the standings, Malaga has won four in a row at Rosaleda Stadium, beating Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, and Celta Vigo.

Barcelona's hopes of a third straight title depend on it beating mid-table Eibar and Madrid losing.

The next two Champions League places have been filled by Atletico Madrid and fourth-placed Sevilla, which will contest an August playoff to enter the group stage.

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Qualification for the Europa League will be settled on Sunday afternoon.

Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao occupy the two Europa League spots, but Real Sociedad remains in contention. Villarreal plays Valencia sitting a point ahead of Bilbao, which travels to Atletico Madrid. Sociedad goes into its game against Celta Vigo behind Athletic due to its inferior head-to-head record.

Granada, Osasuna and Sporting Gijon have already been relegated.

Juventus closes in on sixth straight Serie A title as season nears end

Friday May 19th, 2017

Juventus could win the title without even stepping on the pitch for its penultimate game.

Anything but wins for Roma and Napoli on Saturday would hand Juventus an unprecedented sixth successive Serie A title before its match against Crotone the following day.

It would be Juve's second trophy in less than a week, after it beat Lazio in the Italian Cup final on Wednesday. Massimiliano Allegri's side remains in contention for a treble, with the Champions League final against Real Madrid coming up on June 3.

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Second-place Roma visits Chievo Verona and third-place Napoli hosts Fiorentina. Victory for Roma would increase the pressure on Juventus as it would cut the gap to just one point before the Bianconeri face a Crotone side fighting against relegation.

Pescara and Palermo have already been relegated but Crotone can still escape going straight back to Serie B. Five wins and two draws in its past seven matches have helped Crotone slash the gap to just one point to 17th-placed Empoli, which hosts high-flying Atalanta on Sunday.

Wide range of scenarios for Bundesliga relegation playoff, European places

Friday May 19th, 2017

The last automatic Champions League qualification place, Europa League spots, and the relegation playoff participants will be decided on Saturday.

Bayern Munich won the title with three games to spare. Darmstadt and Ingolstadt are already relegated, and Stuttgart and Hannover are all but certain to take their place from the second division.

Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim are vying to join Bayern and Leipzig in automatically qualifying for the Champions League. The fourth-place team would have to go through a playoff.

Level on points, Dortmund hosts Werder Bremen, while Hoffenheim welcomes Augsburg.

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Augsburg still has its Bundesliga fate on the line as one of four teams that could end up in the relegation playoff spot occupied by Hamburger SV.

Mainz, Augsburg, and Wolfsburg are all two points ahead of Hamburg and separated only by goal difference.

The decider could be Wolfsburg's game at Hamburg, which has to win. Even if Wolfsburg loses it could be helped by rivals being beaten by heavier margins. Mainz plays Cologne, which is chasing the final Europa League place.

Fifth-place Hertha Berlin is also primed for Europa qualification, sitting a point ahead of Freiburg, which plays champion Bayern, and three in front of Cologne.

Bremen could still sneak into the Europa League with a win at Dortmund if Freiburg loses and Cologne can't beat Mainz.

Ligue 1's main final day suspense: Five-team relegation fight

Friday May 19th, 2017

The main suspense is at the bottom. Five teams–Nancy, Bastia, Lorient, Caen, and Dijon–go into the final day still unsure of their future in the top flight.

There is still a glimmer of hope even for last-place Nancy, which needs to win against Saint-Etienne and other results playing in its favor to clinch the relegation playoffs spot pitting the 18th-place side and the team finishing third in the second division. The playoffs are new this season replacing the previous system of three down, three up.

There's a new champion as well. Paris Saint-Germain was deposed by Monaco, which sealed its first title since 2000 on Wednesday. PSG is guaranteed a runner-up finish and Nice has sealed the third Champions League place.

Lyon, which plays Nice on Saturday, has secured fourth spot and a berth in the Europa League.

Behind that quartet, Marseille and Bordeaux are in a tussle for direct qualification in Europe's second-tier tournament. Fifth-place Marseille, which hosts struggling Bastia, has the upper hand with a one-point lead over Bordeaux, which plays at Lorient.

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