MATCHDAY: Dortmund, Bayern vie for Bundesliga title; PSG can clinch record 11th French crown
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:
It’s the final day of the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich contesting the closest title race for years. Dortmund leads by two points and needs to beat Mainz at home to be sure of ending Bayern’s 10-year reign as champion. Bayern will be hoping for a Dortmund slip-up as it visits Cologne at the same time. Bayern’s goal difference is better than Dortmund’s so a draw won’t be enough for Dortmund if Bayern beats Cologne. Union Berlin and Freiburg are fighting for the last Champions League qualification place. The teams are level as Union hosts Werder Bremen and Freiburg visits Eintracht Frankfurt. Augsburg, Stuttgart, Bochum and Schalke are all still playing for survival.
Paris Saint-Germain has a six-point lead and needs only to draw at Strasbourg to ensure a record 11th Ligue 1 title. PSG also has a vastly superior goal difference to second-placed Lens, which seeks a win at home against already-relegated Ajaccio to guarantee automatic entry to the Champions League. Third-placed Marseille is five points behind Lens but has at least secured a place in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League and hosts Brest. The battle for fourth place and a Europa League spot and the fight to avoid being the last side relegated are hanging in the balance. Fourth-placed Monaco is two points ahead of Lille in fifth spot and three ahead of Rennes in sixth. Monaco is under heavy pressure as it goes to Rennes but Lille hosts a Nantes side in 17th and desperate to stay up. Four teams go down this season and eight-time champion Nantes is one point behind 16th-place Auxerre, which travels to play French Cup winner Toulouse.
Champions League finalist Inter Milan can guarantee itself a spot in next season’s competition if it doesn’t lose at home to Atalanta. A point would be enough for Inter to book its place in the top four in Serie A and dent Atalanta’s hopes of a return to the Champions League. Atalanta is fifth but five points behind Inter and three below AC Milan ahead of the Rossoneri’s match at Juventus on Sunday. Roma is a point further back and needs to win at Fiorentina to keep its top-four hopes alive. Although Roma does have another potential route back into the Champions League as it is also in the Europa League final. At the other end of the table, Spezia will be looking to beat Torino to move away from the relegation zone. It is just one point above the bottom three. Salernitana is already safe and hosts Udinese.
Luton and Coventry compete in the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium for the right to play in the Premier League next season. Both teams are looking to cap remarkable rises, after playing each other in England’s fourth tier only five years ago. Luton has never played in the Premier League since its inauguration in 1992 — the team was last in the top-flight in the 1991-92 season — and dropped out of the English Football League completely in 2009 following a 30-point deduction for financial misconduct. Coventry was relegated from the Premier League in 2001 after 34 straight years in the top division and has since struggled with ownership issues and financial problems which left the team without a home stadium on a number of occasions over the last decade. The winner will join Burnley and Sheffield United in getting promoted from the Championship.
Real Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior will not play when his team visits Sevilla seeking a win to stay in second place with two games remaining. Coach Carlo Ancelotti said Vinícius will sit out a second straight game due to knee trouble. His absence from the field comes amid a huge uproar that has reached his native Brazil following him being racially abused by fans again at last weekend’s game at Valencia.
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