How are Europe’s top leagues shaping up for the run-in?

A look at what is at stake in France, Germany, Holland, Italy and Spain

Juventus’ defender Leonardo Bonucci celebrates after scoring in their 4-0 win over Genoa at the weekend. Photo: Marco Bertorello/Getty Images

Juventus’ defender Leonardo Bonucci celebrates after scoring in their 4-0 win over Genoa at the weekend. Photo: Marco Bertorello/Getty Images

 

Barcelona’s dramatic El Clasico victory at Real Madrid ensured the LaLiga title race will go to the wire, while Bayern Munich and Juventus still have work to do in their own championship quests.

As the major European leagues enter their final straights, relegation and Champions League qualification issues are becoming clearer, too.

LIGUE 1

Free-scoring Monaco, who boast teenage revelation Kylian Mbappe, have been caught by reigning champions Paris St Germain, but the Champions League semi-finalists have a game in hand.

However, European engagements could make it harder for Monaco to pull clear of the 80-point mark and clinch their first French title since 2000. PSG are currently riding an eight-game winning streak.

The race for continental competition sees early-season leaders Nice in pole position to claim the third Champions League spot, with Bordeaux nine points behind with 12 still to play for. Lyon, Marseille, St Etienne and eighth-placed Nantes are the realistic contenders for Europa League spots.

Bastia look likely to become the first team relegated as they are five points from safety having won only once since December. The battle to avoid the drop is tight as 15th-placed Metz are only four points clear of danger, with Lorient, Caen, Dijon and Nancy facing a more immediate threat.

This season will see the side that finish 18th play off against the third-best team in Ligue 2 for top-flight status. Strasbourg, Brest and Nimes are the leading lights in the second division.

BUNDESLIGA

Had things panned out differently over the last few weeks, Bayern Munich might have already landed their fifth straight title, but instead RB Leipzig retain an outside chance of pulling off an amazing feat.

Back-to-back Bayern draws coupled with a four-game winning run from promoted Leipzig — in the Bundesliga for the first time — have slashed the gap to eight points with 12 to play for. The penultimate game of the season sees Carlo Ancelotti’s Bavarians head to Leipzig — that match will be crucial.

Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim are almost certain to take the other Champions League berths, leaving the rest of the top half to try and dislodge Hertha Berlin and Freiburg from the Europa League spots. Eintracht Frankfurt are ninth but sit only five points behind fifth-placed Hertha.

Darmstadt have delayed the long-expected drop by winning their last two games but the best they can hope for is to reach the relegation play-off place — occupied by Augsburg — with four wins from four. Ingolstadt are likely to join them in the second tier, with Mainz, Wolfsburg and Hamburg in peril.

EREDIVISIE

PSV Eindhoven did leaders Feyenoord a huge favour by beating second-placed Ajax on Sunday and the Rotterdammers are now four points clear in their pursuit of a first title since 1999.

Only two games remain in Holland, so PSV, Utrecht, AZ Alkmaar and Vitesse Arnhem are comfortable in European spots, with seventh-placed FC Twente looking warily at Heerenveen.

Go Ahead Eagles need to win twice and hope other results save their skin, with Sparta Rotterdam and NEC Nijmegen eager to escape the relegation play-off spots at the expense of Roda JC.

SERIE A

Juventus are within touching distance of winning a sixth straight Scudetto, something that has never been done before.

Depending on Roma’s result at Pescara on Monday night, which could also relegate the rock-bottom Delfini, Juve could find themselves in a position to put one hand on the cup when they visit Atalanta on Friday, as long as Roma drop points in Sunday’s derby.

Lazio are seven points behind Napoli, in the final Champions League spot, meaning most of the intrigue will concern the battle for Europa League football. With Juve playing Lazio in the Coppa Italia final, there will be an extra spot, and AC Milan are currently in sixth — behind Atalanta — and keeping their out-of-form city rivals Inter at arm’s length with a two-point cushion.

If Pescara postpone the drop with an unlikely positive result against Roma, they will still need to win their remaining five games. Palermo are 13 points adrift and destined for Serie B but improving Crotone have a glimmer of hope as they are only five points behind Empoli.

LALIGA

Barcelona could retain the Spanish crown after all following their 3-2 win at the Bernabeu. The key to the destination of the title, though, is Real Madrid’s game in hand at Celta Vigo.

Real are away from home four times out of six, with Barca — already knocked out of European competition — at the Nou Camp against lowly opponents on three occasions.

Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are well-placed to sew up the final Champions League spots with Villarreal eight points off the pace and hoping Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao do not improve over the run-in.

Osasuna face an instant return to the Segunda Division as they are nine points from safety, with Tony Adams’ Granada two points better off while Sporting Gijon can feasibly drag Leganes into the mire.

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