It’s time for El Clasico!
Are you ready? El Clasico is here. Millions of viewers will be glued to their TV screens on Sunday to watch whether Real Madrid can spoil Barcelona’s title celebration. When this game is on the schedule in Spain, the rest of the fixtures are disregarded in the background. That will be the case this weekend as well, but let’s just mention some of them out of respect. Villarreal – Valencia is the most interesting one, as it features two teams in the top 6. The battle for the last Europa League qualification spot rages on, as Getafe travels to Gran Canaria to take on Las Palmas, Girona clashes with Eibar, Celta Vigo plays Deportivo la Coruna and Sevilla duels Real Sociedad. In the second Andalusia versus Basque matchup, Europa League bound Real Betis goes to Bilbao to take on Athletic, while Atletico Madrid plays Espanyol in the other meeting between Madrid and Catalonia.
There are three main questions to be answered in the remaining two Premier League rounds (+ delayed fixtures):
1. Can Manchester City break Chelsea’s records for most goals in a season and most points in a season?
2. Can Chelsea catch Tottenham and/or Liverpool and earn that Champions League berth that seemed to be lost?
3. Which teams will be relegated?
Manchester City takes on Huddersfield and is almost certainly going to break Chelsea’s record for most goals (103). The Blues themselves will clash heads with Champions League finalist Liverpool in what should be one of the most entertaining matches in this campaign. Tottenham visits West Bromwich and despite the home team’s motivation, The Spurs should simply be too good to overcome. Stoke will depend on the results of others, but the least it can do is win its remaining two games, the first one of which is versus Crystal Palace. Before their head-to-head midweek matchup, Southampton and Swansea have travel arrangements this weekend. The Saints visit Everton, whereas The Swans play at Bournemouth. Arsenal welcomes Burnley in what should be a festive occasion since it’s Wenger’s last home game as Arsenal manager. Manchester United kicks off the round with a game at Brighton today.
Borussia Dortmund has a chance to catch Schalke, because the Gelsenkirchen side has to face the challenge of defeating tricky Augsburg on the road. BVB, on the other hand, has a much easier assignment (at least on paper) at home against Mainz. Two of the most impressive teams in Germany this season have been Hoffenheim and Stuttgart. They will face each other on Saturday at the Rhein Neckar Arena. Both Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig will look to stop the bleeding. The Pharmacists are away at Werder Bremen, while Red Bull will try to bury Wolfsburg further down the table. Hamburger SV’s desperation mode has resulted in three wins in its last four contests. Next on the schedule is struggling Eintracht Frankfurt. Bayern Munich will leak its Champions League wounds on the road at Koln.
Last week most likely decided to title winner in Italy. Juventus will now need to just do what’s expected of them and will lift the trophy in a couple of weeks’ time. Bologna is on the schedule on Saturday. Second-placed Napoli, in the meantime, has a difficult road mission against Juve’s city rival Torino. The three contenders for the two other CL spots are all expected to win. Roma is at Cagliari, Lazio hosts Atalanta and Inter travels to Udinese. Milan will look to profit from a potential Atalanta loss by taking care of business at San Siro versus Verona. Europa League hopefuls Sampdoria and Fiorentina are away at Sassuolo and Genoa, respectively.
All but one of the matches in France’s top division will be played on Sunday. The only exception is Amiens – PSG, a fixture on the schedule tonight. Second-placed Lyon shouldn’t experience any problems grabbing a win against Troyes. The same can’t be said about Europa League finalist Olympique de Marseille, who has a trap game at home versus Nice. Monaco needs to get its juices going again if it wants to participate in the Champions League next season and has an excellent chance to do so at Caen. Confident Saint Etienne clashes with Bordeaux, Rennes is matched up with Strasbourg, whereas Montpellier visits Nantes in a matchup of the two most defensive-minded teams in the league.