May is a great time for football fans, with the continent’s greatest leagues and cup competitions reaching their peak. And not to mention Europe’s elite club tournaments – such as the Champions League, Europa and Europa Conference League – are all climaxing this month. Okay, we’ll admit, some things have been ignored for some time now. On 23 April Bayern Munich sealed their tenth consecutive Bundesliga crown, PSG wrapped up Ligue 1 on the same day and Carlo Ancelotti celebrated Real Madrid’s La Liga success a week later.
These victories are not the biggest underdog stories in football history, kindly compiled by the Pokerstars, but there were doubts in the middle of the season as to whether both PSG and Real could win their respective league titles. But with these three predetermined decisions aside, there is still plenty of play for the top five European nations. Let’s take a look at what still needs to be played across the continent.
Much remains to be decided in England. Only two of Europe’s top five leagues have not yet been determined. Liverpool and Manchester City differed by just one point as the title race reached the checkered flag. And then there’s the small matter of The Reds’ quadruple challenge, the League Cup is already in the Anfield trophy cabinet and they have their Premier League trophy hunt as well as the Champions League final and FA Cup final. City will still be reeling from their stunning fall against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, and will need a brave man to wager against Jurgen Klopp’s side from an unexpected achievement. The top four are all set to take over, and it looks like North London rivals Arsenal and Spurs are in pole position to seal Champions League football next season. At the other end of the table, Norwich and Watford have already come out of the trap door, with Everton, Leeds and Burnley all struggling to avoid the same fate.
The richest match in football, the play-off final of the EFL Championship should not be forgotten. Either Huddersfield Town, Luton Town, Sheffield United or Nottingham Forest will be eligible winners of approximately 135m and will be ranked among the elite of English football next season.
The other league in the home of the Euro 2020 champions has not yet been determined. Fighting for AC Milan and their city rivals Inter Scudetto, Archenmira also split by just two points with just two games left. The top four are claimed, with Napoli and Juventus joining Milan and sealing their place in the European elite club competition next season. Europa League venues are expected to be moved to the Stadio Olympico, with both Loggio and Roma set to be hot seats in next year’s European Championships. Juve will also face Inter in the Copa Italia final which will definitely be a burning derby d’Italia. Venezia, Genoa, Salarnitana, Cagliari and Sampdoria – none of the relegation sites have yet been determined for any of the three drops. And finally, there are Jose Mourinho and his Giulrosi gladiators who will face Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League final, giving the legendary Portuguese manager the chance to lift three major European trophies as the first and only person in football history.
La Liga is already securely locked in the Santiago Bernabeu and another specific big-yard trophy could go to Madrid when they face Liverpool in Paris in late May. Real Betis Copa del Rey claimed the 40-year-old captain and icon Joaquin scored on a penalty kick to beat Valencia, their first trophy in 17 years. Betis could also claim a place in next year’s Champions League, 3 points behind outgoing champions Atletico, with Real Sociedad also hot on their heels. Barcelona are ready to end the season as runners-up to Los Blancos, having confirmed their return to the Champions League after being knocked out of the group stage last season.
At the other end of the table, Alaves and Levante are ready to go down to the second level next season. For the third relegation zone spot, four teams have been separated by just five points and three games remain, with Mallorca, Cিজdiz, Granada and Getafe also facing chops.
The biggest shock in Germany has already happened, with Bayern Munich lifting the Bundesliga against all odds. On a serious note, DFB is the Pokালmon Hall where the real excitement is League champions Bayern were knocked out in the second round by Borussia Mচেnchengladbach with a 5-0 win over the big guns. Freiburg and Leipzig of Arabia will compete in the final, and one of the two will lift their first big trophy on May 21.
Die Rotten Bullen also missed out on a chance to reach their first major European final after losing to Scottish champions Rangers at Ibrox in the Europa League semi-finals. Their compatriot Eintracht Frankfurt will have a chance to avenge the Germans as they beat West Ham United to reach their first European final in more than 40 years, competing in the Seville Shoppes.
Greuther Firth and Armenia Bielefeld have already been dropped, Stuttgart or Hertha Berlin 2. The Bundesliga will join them next season.
Well, maybe the biggest shock was not in the Bundesliga, maybe Messi’s irresistible performance after leaving Barcelona. Although PSG won the title, it was hardly a great season for Argentina. Marseille, meanwhile, have qualified for next year’s Champions League and will join them in Rennes, Monaco or Nice in a few months. The champion Parisians will also face Nantes in the final of the Nice Coupe de France after being penalized by Christophe Galtier’s men in the last 16.