Europe’s top soccer leagues: What’s at stake this weekend?

Source: ESPN

The 2023-24 season is drawing to a close and the battles for the major honours, relegation and promotion are starting to become clearer.

Here’s a quick roundup of exactly what has been decided, and what’s still at stake, in the English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Spanish LaLiga, Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1.

Premier League

Title: It now looks like a two-horse race after third-placed Liverpool (75 points, 35 games) fell further behind last weekend.  

Arsenal (80, 35) hold a one-point lead over Manchester City (79, 34), but Pep Guardiola’s side have a game in hand —  though that is away against Tottenham Hotspur. Both teams are at home this weekend (Arsenal vs. Bournemouth, Man City vs. Wolves) and will expected to pick up maximum points.

Champions League (4): Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool are confirmed for a top-four finish, leaving one place to be filled. 

Aston Villa (67, 35) are in complete control of fourth place with Tottenham (60, 34) the only team that can catch them. It could be finalised on Sunday if Villa win at Brighton and Spurs lose at Liverpool.

Europa League (2): Aston Villa will take the league place if they are overtaken by Tottenham.  

Spurs are in a strong position to finish fifth with Manchester United (54, 34) six points behind in sixth. Man United take on Man City in the FA Cup final on May 25 (stream live on ESPN+, U.S. only). If Erik ten Hag’s team lift the trophy then they will be in the Europa League (UEL). If City win the cup, then the position transfers to the sixth place in the Premier League — so it could still go to Man United that way too.  

There’s probably three other teams in contention to finish sixth: Newcastle United (53, 34), Chelsea (51, 34) and West Ham United (49, 35; outsiders as they have played a game more.)

If Aston Villa win the UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL), which earns a place in the Europa League, that place cannot be passed back down to the Premier League table.

Europa Conference League (1): At the moment, sixth will go into the Europa Conference League but that’s also dependent on the FA Cup winners. 

If Man City win the FA Cup then the place in the UECL will drop down to seventh, and it would still be one of Man United, Newcastle, Chelsea and West Ham.

The UECL place will also drop to seventh if Man United win the FA Cup and finish sixth. 

Relegation (3): Four teams look to be fighting it out for one survival place, with three clubs to be relegated. 

An immediate return to the Championship for Sheffield United (16, 35) was confirmed last weekend by their 5-1 loss at Newcastle.

Second-bottom Burnley (24, 35) still have a chance of avoiding the drop but have a difficult run in, facing Newcastle and Spurs before a possibly huge game at home to Nottingham Forest (26, 35) on the final day. 

Third-bottom Luton Town (25, 35) host Everton this weekend and need to start winning games.  

Forest also await the result of an appeal over a points deduction which could yet change the picture. 

Leicester City’s return to the Premier League has been confirmed as winners of the Championship title, and Ipswich Town are expected to pip Leeds United to the second automatic promotion place on Saturday.


Title: Real Madrid (84, 33) have an 11-point lead over Barcelona (73, 33) and need a maximum of four points to secure the title. 

It will all be sorted on Saturday if Real Madrid win at home Cádiz and Barca then fail to beat Girona later that day.

Champions League (4): Real Madrid and Barca will take two places, with Girona (71, 33) almost over the line for the third. It will be confirmed if Athletic Club (58, 33) lose at Getafe on Friday, or if Girona beat Barca on Saturday.

The gap in the two-horse race for fourth place widened to six points last weekend with Atlético Madrid (64, 33) winning at home to Athletic Club.  

Europa League (2): Athletic won the Copa del Rey and are almost certain to finish in the top six, which means the place for the cup moves over to the league — fifth and sixth will enter the UEL.

Either Atlético or Athletic will take one of the places, with Real Sociedad (51, 33) sitting in sixth. La Real have Barcelona coming up and are being chased by Real Betis (49, 33) and Valencia (47, 33). 

Real Sociedad also have to play both Valencia and Betis in their final three fixtures. 

Europa Conference League (1): This will go to seventh in the league, between Real Sociedad, Real Betis and Valencia, while Villarreal (45, 33) and Getafe (43, 33) cannot be ruled out.

Relegation (3): Almería (14, 33), with one victory all season, were relegated last weekend. 

Granada (21, 33) are also up against it and will be relegated if they lose at Sevilla on Sunday alongside wins for Mallorca and Celta Vigo.

That effectively leaves one relegation spot to be decided, with Cádiz (26, 33) needing to catch either Celta Vigo (31, 33) or Mallorca (32, 33). But this weekend Cádiz face a trip to the Bernabéu.

Who could move on transfer deadline day? Gallagher to leave Chelsea?© Provided by ESPN


Title:  Bayer Leverkusen (81, 31) have already secured the first championship in their history. 

Champions League (5): The Bundesliga has sealed an extra place through the European Performance Spot, which sends the team in fifth to the UCL too. 

And we already know who will fill the top five positions. Joining Leverkusen will be Bayern Munich (69, 31), VfB Stuttgart (64,31), RB Leipzig (62, 31) and Borussia Dortmund (57, 31). 

However, if Dortmund win the UCL and finish fifth, then sixth in the Bundesliga will also be in the UCL — one to keep an eye on if Dortmund get past PSG in the semifinals (Dortmund won the first leg 1-0.) 

Europa League (2): There are a few complicating factors to the UEL places, which right now go to sixth in the league and the winners of the DFB Pokal.

The final of the DFB Pokal on May 25 sees Leverkusen take on Kaiserslautern who, incredibly, could win the cup and be relegated to the third division, as they sit one point above the 2. Bundesliga relegation zone. If Kaiserslautern pull off an almighty shock and do what no other team has done all season (beat Leverkusen), the league slots will be unaltered. If Leverkusen win the final, sixth and seventh will get a place in the UEL.

But right now only sixth place is certain of a UEL place. That’s held by Eintracht Frankfurt (45, 31), who are chased by SC Freiburg in seventh (40, 31), then FC Augsburg in seventh (39, 31) and eighth-placed TSG Hoffenheim (39, 31).

If Dortmund win the UCL and finish fifth, Germany will surrender that place in the UEL.

Europa Conference League (1): This is also a battle between Eintracht Frankfurt, SC Freiburg, FC Augsburg and Hoffenheim.

At present, Freiburg hold the UECL place in seventh, but depending on the cup winners it could be eighth that takes it. 

Relegation (2+1): Two teams are relegated, and third-bottom takes on third place in the 2. Bundesliga in a playoff for the right to play in the top flight.

The relegation of SV Darmstadt 98 (17, 31) was confirmed last weekend.

FC Cologne (23, 31) are second-bottom and will need a strong run in their final three games to get out of it. 

That seems to leave four clubs trying to avoid the playoff place: Mainz (28, 31), VfL Bochum (30, 31), Union Berlin (30, 31) and Borussia Monchengladbach (32, 31). Union Berlin take on Bochum on Sunday

Who could move on transfer deadline day? Gallagher to leave Chelsea?© Provided by ESPN

Serie A

Title: Internazionale (89, 34) wrapped up the Scudetto last month as runaway champions.

Champions League (5): Like Germany, Italy has secured an extra place in next year’s competition through its clubs’ performance in Europe this season, meaning at least five clubs will qualify.

Inter will be joined by AC Milan (70, 34), while Juventus (65, 34) and Bologna (63, 34), third and fourth respectively, have a cushion to sixth and should also qualify. 

AS Roma (59, 34) are fifth, followed by Atalanta (57, 33) and Lazio (55, 34). It’s likely these three clubs are battling out for the extra UCL slot.

In a quirk of the new regulations for next season, if either Roma or Atalanta win the UEL this season and finish outside the top four then Italy will have six clubs in the UCL — the top four, the UEL title-holders and the European Performance Spot. So, finishing in sixth might yet be enough for UCL football.

Europa League (2): Atalanta face Juventus in the final of the Coppa Italia, which means it’s highly likely that sixth and seventh will qualify for the UEL.

Roma, Atalanta and Lazio are the main contenders, but there’s still hope for Napoli (50, 34) and more so Fiorentina (50, 33) with their game in hand — which is against Atalanta.

If either AS Roma or Atalanta win the UEL to qualify for the UCL and finish sixth or seventh, Italy will surrender that place in the UEL. 

Europa Conference League (1): Eighth place will almost certainly enter the UECL, which is currently held by Napoli but could be filled by Atalanta, Lazio, Fiorentina or Torino (46, 34)

If either Roma or Atalanta win the UEL to qualify for the UCL and finish eighth, Italy will surrender its place in the UECL.

Relegation (3): Salernitana (15, 34) were relegated when they lost at Frosinone last weekend.

It looks tough from here for Sassuolo (26, 34), then it’s a tight battle for third-bottom between Udinese (29, 34), Empoli (31, 34), Frosinone (31, 34), Hellas Verona (31, 34) and Cagliari (32, 34). Empoli host Frosinone on Sunday.

Who could move on transfer deadline day? Gallagher to leave Chelsea?© Provided by ESPN

Ligue 1

Title: Paris Saint-Germain (70, 31) secured the title last weekend when AS Monaco lost at Lyon. 

Champions League (3+1): France gets three automatic places, with fourth place entering the UCL in the third qualifying round. PSG have already booked one place.

There’s a fierce battle for the two other guaranteed places between Monaco (58, 30), Brest (56, 31) and Lille (55, 31). 

If Marseille, who are in seventh, win the UEL then France will have five teams in the UCL.

Europa League (2):  While Nice (51, 31) still have an outside chance of finishing fourth and getting a place in the UCL qualifying rounds, they are realistically targeting fifth and the UEL spot.  

In sixth (as it stands a UECL place), Lens (46, 31) are the closest challengers. 

PSG take on Lyon in the final of the Coupe de France on May 25, and a victory for Les Parisiens will send sixth place into the UEL too. 

Europa Conference League (1): Much will depend on who wins the Coupe de France. If it’s Lyon, who are in eighth (44, 31), then sixth may still be the UECL place.

However, if PSG win the cup, or Lyon do so and finish sixth, then seventh gets the UECL place. Lens, Lyon, Marseille in seventh (44, 31), Stade Rennais in ninth (42, 31), Toulouse in 10th (40, 31) and Stade de Reims in 11th (40, 31) could all finish in seventh and be waiting on the cup final.

If Marseille win the UEL and finish in a European position, France will surrender the place for the league position.

Relegation (2+1): Two teams are relegated, with third-bottom facing a playoff with a team from the second division to remain in Ligue 1. 

Clermont Foot (25, 31) are bottom but a win last weekend has given them renewed hope. Lorient (26, 31), Metz (29, 31), Le Havre AC (29, 31) and Nantes (32, 31) are also in contention for relegation and the playoff. 

THE AUTHOR: Dale Johnson

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