MATCHDAY: Euro spots, relegation at stake as Bundesliga ends
A look at what’s happening around European soccer on Saturday:
GERMANY: EUROPEAN QUALIFICATION
Bayern Munich is already champion and Borussia Dortmund assured of second place ahead of their games against Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim, respectively. Bayern needs five goals to match its league record of 101 from the 1971-72 season. Third-place Leipzig (63 points) is virtually assured of finishing at least fourth for the last Champions League spot as fifth-place Bayer Leverkusen (60) is three points behind with an inferior goal difference. But Leverkusen can still catch Borussia Mönchengladbach (62), two points better off going into its home game against Hertha Berlin. Leverkusen hosts Mainz and will be hoping for a Hertha win as its goal difference is worse than Gladbach’s, too. Otherwise Leverkusen will stay fifth and have to be content with a Europa League place. Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim (both 49 points) are bidding to finish sixth to qualify directly for the Europa League. Hoffenheim is behind on goal difference and would need to qualify for the competition if it stays seventh. No other team can overtake it.
GERMANY: RELEGATION SCRAP
One of Fortuna Düsseldorf (30) or Werder Bremen (28) will be relegated alongside last-place Paderborn (20), and one will secure the second chance if there’s a two-leg playoff against the team that finishes third in the second division. Düsseldorf visits Union Berlin and Bremen hosts Cologne. Union and Cologne are safe with pride to play for. Bremen would be relegated for the second time after 1980 if Düsseldorf draws and it doesn’t win by more than four goals. Schalke is bidding to end its club-record 15-game winless streak at Freiburg. Its supporters have promised protests against the club’s management, though all games will again be without fans due to coronavirus restrictions.
Manchester United’s quest for a first trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjær continues when the FA Cup resumes after a three-month suspension with the team away at Norwich in the quarterfinals. There’s only one Premier League match on Saturday: Aston Villa can move out of the relegation zone by not losing to Wolverhampton, which can move in fifth place by drawing or winning.
Barcelona visits a red-hot Celta Vigo trying to keep pressure on Real Madrid at the top of the standings. Barcelona and Madrid are tied on points but Madrid, which visits last-place Espanyol on Sunday, is ahead on tiebreakers. Celta is near the relegation zone but is coming off two straight victories, including a 6-0 rout at Alavés. Atlético Madrid defends third place when it hosts Alavés, while second-to-last Leganés visits mid-table Osasuna. Athletic Bilbao hosts relegation-threatened Mallorca.
After seeing its club record unbeaten streak ended midweek, Lazio needs to beat Fiorentina to keep pressure on Juventus at the top of the standings. Lazio was unbeaten since September, a 21-match run, but let slip a two-goal advantage to lose at Atalanta 3-2. The capital side remains second but is seven points behind Juventus, which beat Lecce 4-0 on Friday. Fiorentina is only six points above the relegation zone and drew against lowly Brescia in its first match after soccer resumed. Torino is level on points with Fiorentina and visits Cagliari. Brescia hosts Genoa, which occupies the last place of safety but is level on points with 18th-placed Lecce.
- Bayer Leverkusen
- English Premier League
- Euro Cup
- Real Madrid
- Werder Bremen