With one title left to play for, Dortmund are rolling again at just the right time. After their spirited second-leg display against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals, BVB torched a strong Bayern side 3-0, before cruising past Wolfsburg in the German Cup semis. The win in Munich also served as a blueprint on how to shatter Guardiola’s possession-based game plan.
AFP/Getty ImagesPHILIPPE DESMAZES
Paris Saint-Germain (Last week: Sixth)
After dropping out of the Champions League, PSG dropped their second game in a row at Olympique Lyon. That defeat mattered little in the Ligue 1 title race, but gave Laurent Blanc something to think about ahead of a rematch with Lyon in the Coupe de la Ligue final on Saturday.
AFP/Getty ImagesANDREW YATES
Manchester City (Last week: Eighth)
The Premier League race is all but over for the Citizens, who must hope that both Chelsea and Liverpool lose at least once in the final four games (even a draw between them next weekend wouldn’t be enough for City, despite the game in hand). But first thing’s first: City can’t drop any more points as they did to last-place Sunderland on Wednesday.
Getty ImagesDino Panato
Juventus (Last week: Ninth)
Juve have allowed four goals and lost only once in their past nine games (away to Napoli), with Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente each accounting for three goals in that stretch. Bologna is up next, followed by the first of two showdowns against Benfica in the Europa League semifinals.
AFP/Getty ImagesCESAR MANSO
Barcelona (Last week: Fifth)
Gerardo Martino may be facing the axe after his side lost the Copa del Rey final to Real Madrid. A preseason Super Cup title simply isn’t good enough when one has the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Neymar on your team. Speaking of Neymar, losing him -- and Jordi Alba -- for the final month of the season also greatly diminishes Barca’s hopes for a late push to the La Liga title.
Getty ImagesMichael Steele
Chelsea (Last week: Fourth)
The situation is rather simple for the Blues in the Premier League: win your last four games and be crowned champions. But before the showdown at Liverpool and the two bouts against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semifinals, Chelsea must beware of yet another trap game against Sunderland, who nearly beat Man City at the Etihad.
Liverpool FC via Getty ImagesAndrew Powell
Liverpool (Last week: Seventh)
After edging Man City at home in one of the matches of the season, Reds fans can already taste it. Four games separate Liverpool from their first league title in 24 years, with their two remaining away fixtures at Norwich and Crystal Palace. If Liverpool can hold off Chelsea at home next weekend, Brendan Rodgers just might get them there.
AFP/Getty ImagesCESAR MANSO
Real Madrid (Last week: Third)
Where are the Gareth Bale detractors now? The $132M man made the most of Ronaldo’s absence in the Copa del Rey final, scoring the winner against Barca and proving himself to the Real faithful. Next up for Bale (and Ronaldo, if healthy): a pivotal matchup on the wings against Bayern’s world-class fullback tandem of Philipp Lahm and David Alaba.
Getty ImagesDenis Doyle
Atletico Madrid (Last week: Second)
Things are looking rosy for Atletico in La Liga, where they have a three-point edge (plus the head-to-head tiebreaker) on Real with four games to go after their 2-0 victory over Elche on Friday. A Champions League final appearance could be the icing on the cake, but they face a tricky semifinal tie against Chelsea. Playing the first leg at home, Diego Simeone must get ready for a chess match against Jose Mourinho.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesLennart Preiss
Bayern Munich (Last week: First)
Our experts still unanimously tab Bayern No. 1 despite a 3-0 home loss to Dortmund, who gave a perfect lecture on how to pick them apart on the counter. And though the game had no real consequences for Bayern, it was easily Pep Guardiola’s worst loss as Munich manager (and he played the first team). Real Madrid must be chomping at the bit ahead of Wednesday.