The English Premier League and the German Bundesliga are done, Barcelona’s undefeated season came to an astonishing halt and Juventus was officially crowned as champion in the penultimate weekend in Europe’s top 5 leagues.
The 2017/18 English Premier league season is officially over. Manchester City broke the century mark with a 94th minute goal by Gabriel Jesus at Southampton. It’s a record that might never be broken. Five of the top 6 teams ended the season on a high note. Chelsea had a theoretical shot at entering the top 4, but was beaten badly by Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United (3-0). The only other uncertainty was whether Tottenham or Liverpool will finish 3rd. For a while it seemed like The Reds might get there, but The Spurs’ persistence paid off in one of the highest-scoring encounters of the campaign – a 5-4 home victory over Leicester. Liverpool manhandled Brighton 4-0. More importantly, Mohamed Salah scored, breaking the record for most goals with 32. Klopp’s men will now seek direct Champions League qualification in the final on May 26. Arsene Wenger won his last game as Arsenal manager on the road against Huddersfield (1-0). Swansea, Stoke and West Bromwich Albion are EPL’s relegated clubs.
Interestingly enough, there was another top 5 leagues 5-4 match this weekend and it was a stunner. Barcelona’s quest for an unbeaten season ended when everyone least expected. Valverde’s decision to field a mixed team and leave out Messi from the roster backfired badly. Levante led 5-1 at one point in the second half before the champions scored three goals in succession to reduce the gap to one. They had 20 minutes to find an equalizer, but failed to do so. A truly remarkable turn of events.
As usual, Betis and Sevilla played out a tense derby that ended with a point for each club. You can read more about what happened here. Sevilla was glad to hear that Getafe lost (0-1 versus Atletico Madrid), which means it’ll now need only a point at home versus Alaves next weekend to secure a Europa League berth. Betis is already there, and so is Villarreal after defeating Deportivo la Coruna on the road 4-2. Real Madrid obliterated Celta Vigo, in large part thanks to Gareth Bale, who wanted to show that he deserves to be in the starting eleven in the CL final. Valencia defeated Girona in Catalonia 1-0.
The Bundesliga has also come to a close. The young Stuttgart squad caused the biggest surprise of the round by upsetting Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena 4-1. It’s a result that combined with Eintracht Frankfurt’s loss at Schalke means that Stuttgart finished 7th. Unless Eintracht wins the cup on May 19, Stuttgart will be the third club to represent Germany in the Europa League next season. It will be joined by RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen. Ralph Hassenhuttl’s boys stepped up and flattened Hertha in Berlin 6-2. Bayer Leverkusen won as well, but didn’t get the help it needed from Borussia Dortmund, as BVB lost to Hoffenheim 3-1. The two results created a circle of three clubs with 55 points in which The Pharmacists were the odd ones out.
At the bottom of the table, Hamburger SV won. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as Wolfsburg won too. It meant that Hamburg was relegated for the first time in its history, while Wolfsburg will be tasked with a two-leg playoff against the third-placed second division club – Holstein Kiel.
In Serie A’s penultimate round, Juventus was officially crowned as champion of Italy by drawing 0-0 in Rome against AS Roma. Lazio drew 2-2 at Crotone, making way for Inter to catch up. However, The Nerazzurri lost 2-1 at home to Sassuolo, setting up a do-or-die clash against Lazio at Stadio Olimpico next weekend. Fiorentina missed a huge opportunity to take matters into its own hands, since Atalanta and AC Milan drew 1-1, by losing 1-0 at home to relegation-embattled Cagliari. Consequently, Milan and Atalanta clinched their spots in the Europa League.
There was a change at the top in France. Monaco is back to 2nd place after Lyon unexpectedly suffered a 3-2 road defeat against Strasbourg, while Jardim’s men beat St. Etienne at home 1-0. Marseille could’ve capitalized on Lyon’s loss as well, but didn’t. It drew 3-3 at Guingamp. Lyon faces Nice in the last round and will likely need to win that tough matchup in order to secure Champions League football next season. Paris Saint-Germain disappointed for the third straight week, this time losing at Parc des Princes to Rennes (0-2). It was PSG’s first home defeat this season and a huge win for Rennes, as Sabri Lamouchi’s talented squad has qualified for the 2018/19 Europa League.
Nice and Bordeaux jumped into the other two Europa League positions by winning their duels versus Caen (4-1) and Toulouse (4-2), respectively. Montpellier didn’t follow their footsteps after drawing 1-1 with Troyes at home, whereas Nantes stayed in play with a 2-0 victory at Angers. Therefore, five clubs are in contention for the remaining two EL spots: Nice (54), Bordeaux (52), St. Etienne (52), Montpellier (50) and Nantes (49).