Permutations in Europe: What's on the line during crucial weekend?

Barcelona and Manchester City won their respective leagues with matches to spare. The city of Naples has been partying for months.

But don’t be fooled: There’s still plenty to play for in Europe’s top five leagues.

Here are the title races, squabbles for European places, relegation battles, and promotion skirmishes to look out for during a high-stakes weekend of football.

?gbeng Premier League

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Last day of the Premier League season kicks off at 11:30 ET on Sunday.

European qualification

Premier League champions Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Newcastle United will compete in the Champions League group stage next season. Liverpool grudgingly accepted Europa League football in 2023-24 after Manchester United’s 4-1 defeat of Chelsea on Thursday left the Merseyside club marooned in fifth.

Brighton & Hove Albion locked up sixth place, and their first-ever Europa League berth, with a 1-1 draw against Manchester City on Wednesday. That leaves Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur, and Brentford to battle for seventh in the table and a spot in the Europa Conference League. Villa are in the driver’s seat: A home win over Brighton assures Unai Emery’s team of European football. Drop points, though, and it opens up an opportunity for Spurs, who visit Leeds United. If both teams falter, then Brentford can sneak into seventh if they beat Manchester City; the Bees have the best goal difference of the trio.

Standings with one match left:

# Team Played GD Points
7 Aston Villa 37 +4 58
8 Tottenham Hotspur 37 +4 57
9 Brentford 37 +11 56

Relegation battle

Bournemouth were favorites to be relegated before the season began. Now, the Cherries – sitting comfortably in 13th – will dictate whether there’s any movement in the relegation battle during the Premier League’s finale.

Standings with one match left:

# Team GD Points
17 Everton -24 33
18 Leicester City -18 31
19 Leeds United -27 31
20 Southampton -37 24

Everton welcome Bournemouth to the raucous Goodison Park. Leicester City and Leeds United also have home games: the Foxes challenge West Ham United, while Sam Allardyce’s men host Tottenham.

The Toffees are the only team in control of their own destiny, so let’s look at which results mean safety (?) and relegation (?) for Sean Dyche & Co.:

Result Everton win Everton draw Everton lose
Both rivals drop points ? ? ?
Leeds win; Leicester drop points ? ?* ?
Leicester win; Leeds drop points ? ? ?
Both rivals win ? ? ?

* Everton would be relegated if Leeds recover the goal-difference gap

Leeds appear doomed. To stand any chance of getting out of the bottom three, they need to win against Tottenham while both of their relegation rivals drop points. The West Yorkshire outfit has only beaten Southampton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Nottingham Forest since mid-November.

Fighting for promotion

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Burnley and Sheffield United earned automatic promotion from the Championship. The Clarets were only relegated from the Premier League in the prior campaign; the Blades had an extra season in the second tier after losing to Nottingham Forest in the 2021-22 playoff semifinals.

However, the pair vying for promotion in this season’s Championship playoff final (11:45 a.m. ET on Saturday) are determined to end lengthy periods away from England’s top table.

Luton Town dropped in 1992 – the season before Division One was rebranded as the Premier League – and only ended four miserable seasons in the fifth tier in 2014. Coventry City fell in 2001 with a squad that included Craig Bellamy, John Hartson, and goalkeepers Magnus Hedman and Chris Kirkland. Both teams have endured financial ruin, still operate on shoestring budgets, and played out a 2-2 draw in League Two as recently as March 2018.

Either club would enter the Premier League with an excellent story to tell.

?? Bundesliga

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Last day of the Bundesliga season kicks off at 9:30 ET on Saturday.

Title race

Germany might provide this weekend’s greatest twists and turns.

Bayern Munich held a 1-0 lead over RB Leipzig last Saturday and appeared to be cruising toward three big points in their bid for an 11th straight Bundesliga crown. But a second-half blitz from the visitors dealt the Bavarians a 3-1 home defeat that was further compounded by Borussia Dortmund’s 3-0 victory over Augsburg the following day.

Dortmund, who last won the league in 2012, are now two points ahead of their red rivals before the season wraps up Saturday. Bayern besting 10th-placed Koln and Dortmund drawing at home to Mainz would create the tightest possible finish: The results would leave both teams on 71 points, but the Meisterschale would stay in Munich due to Bayern’s superior goal difference.

How the title could be won or lost on the final day:

Result Dortmund win Dortmund draw Dortmund lose
Bayern win ?? ?? ??
Bayern draw ?? ?? ??
Bayern lose ?? ?? ??

European qualification

Dortmund, Bayern, and RB Leipzig are already assured of Champions League football for next season, but there’s still plenty to be resolved in the positions immediately below that trio.

Standings with one match left:

# Team GD Points
4 Union Berlin +12 59
5 Freiburg +8 59
6 Bayer Leverkusen +11 50
7 Wolfsburg +10 49
8 Eintracht Frankfurt +5 47

Union Berlin host Werder Bremen and Freiburg travel to Eintracht Frankfurt to determine which team finishes in fourth and punches its ticket for next season’s Champions League group stage. The fifth-placed side will qualify for the Europa League. The team that takes sixth, which is currently occupied by Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen, will compete in the Europa Conference League’s two-legged playoffs for a place in the competition’s group stage.

Relegation battle

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“I just love the club,” a tearful Kevin-Prince Boateng said after his hometown team Hertha Berlin tumbled out of the league following last week’s 1-1 draw with VfL Bochum. Their descent means Schalke, Bochum, and Stuttgart are realistically at risk of finishing in 17th place – the other spot that guarantees relegation.

The team that winds up in 16th will be forced into a two-legged playoff with the side that finishes third in the second tier, with the winner earning a place in the Bundesliga next season.

Standings with one match left:

# Team GD Points
14 Augsburg -19 34
15 Stuttgart -12 32
16 VfL Bochum -35 32
17 Schalke -34 31
18 Hertha Berlin -28 26

Bochum’s meeting with Leverkusen could be one of the most intriguing clashes during the league’s last matchday. Bochum can assure themselves of another season in Germany’s top flight while potentially ending Leverkusen’s hopes of playing in Europe next term.

Fighting for promotion

Darmstadt already rubber-stamped their Bundesliga return after a six-year absence, leaving one more automatic promotion place available in the second division.

Heidenheim and Hamburg are separated by a single point in second and third before the matches kick off at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday. They both have away games against clubs mired in the relegation zone – Jahn Regensburg and Sandhausen – so both will be expected to take three points.

Standings with one match left:

# Team GD Points
1 Darmstadt +21 67
2 Heidenheim +30 64
3 Hamburg +24 63

?? La Liga

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La Liga’s penultimate weekend runs from this Saturday through Sunday.

European qualification

Real Sociedad should follow Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid into next season’s Champions League via a fourth-place finish, despite their tricky matches against Atletico and Sevilla to end the campaign.

Villarreal and Real Betis should also book their places in the 2023-24 Europa League group stage. The late-season chaos is likeliest to occur in the fight for seventh, with six clubs potentially finishing in the spot that currently gifts a Europa Conference League qualifying berth.

Standings with two matches left:

# Team GD Points
4 Real Sociedad +16 68
5 Villarreal +20 63
6 Real Betis +4 56
7 Osasuna -5 50
8 Athletic Bilbao +5 50
9 Girona +5 49
10 Sevilla -5 49
11 Mallorca -6 47
12 Rayo Vallecano -6 46

Sevilla’s participation in this scrap confuses matters. Here’s how Spain’s European places will shape up if Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side qualifies for the Champions League by beating Roma in Wednesday’s Europa League final:

  • Sevilla finish seventh: Spain has no team in the Europa Conference League.
  • Sevilla finish eighth or lower: Spain has eight teams competing in Europe (five in the Champions League, two in the Europa League, and one in the Europa Conference League).

Relegation battle

Elche shouldn’t have bothered turning up. But there could be some excitement above the hapless cellar-dwellers, with seven teams scrambling to get above the last two relegation places.

Standings with two matches left:

# Team GD Points
13 Valencia -3 40
14 Celta Vigo -10 40
15 Almeria -16 39
16 Getafe -12 38
17 Cadiz -24 38
18 Valladolid -30 38
19 Espanyol -17 35
20 Elche -38 21

The biggest “relegation six-pointer” taking place this weekend is Sunday’s bout between Almeria and Valladolid.

La Liga’s finale kicks off at 1 p.m. ET on June 4.

Fighting for promotion

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The final round of fixtures in Spain’s second tier runs from this Friday through Sunday, but the four matches that will affect the remarkably tight top-six squabble all kick off at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Among the team in the promotion mix, Albacete have suffered the longest spell outside the top flight; they’ve had three separate stints in the third rung of Spanish football since their relegation from La Liga in 2005. Albacete’s place in the four-team playoffs is assured.

But the rest is up for grabs. The two automatic promotion places are within the reach of five different outfits, with Las Palmas’ visit from Alaves the undoubted standout fixture of a tantalizing slate. Leganes could also ruin table-topping Granada’s promotion bid in Andalusia.

Standings with one match left:

# Team GD Points
1 Granada +23 72
2 Las Palmas +20 71
3 Alaves +14 70
4 Levante +15 69
5 Eibar +8 68
6 Albacete +10 64

?? Serie A

Stefano Guidi / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Serie A’s penultimate weekend runs from this Friday through Sunday.

European qualification

Juventus’ on-and-off punishment for illicit transfer dealings has been a mess. They were docked 15 points in January before that sum was reinstated in April upon appeal. Then Juve had 10 points slashed Monday and suffered a surprising 4-1 defeat to Empoli a few hours later, consigning them to seventh place; Inter Milan’s Coppa Italia triumph on Wednesday means the team finishing seventh in Italy will go into the Europa Conference League.

Standings with two matches left:

# Team GD Points
2 Lazio +27 68
3 Inter Milan +27 66
4 AC Milan +18 64
5 Atalanta +16 61
6 Roma +12 60
7 Juventus +23 59

Scudetto winners Napoli and second-placed Lazio are in next season’s Champions League group stage. Inter can sew up a top-four position when they face Atalanta at 2:45 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Roma have taken four points from the 18 on offer in their last six Serie A matches and must still play Fiorentina (Saturday) and Spezia (June 4). However, Jose Mourinho’s outfit could take a backdoor route into the Champions League if it beats Sevilla in Wednesday’s Europa League final.

In fifth place, Atalanta are currently headed for the Europa League.

Relegation battle

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With Sampdoria and Cremonese already down, Lecce, Spezia, and Hellas Verona are fighting to avoid the final relegation spot.

Standings with two matches left:

# Team GD Points
16 Lecce -13 33
17 Spezia -26 31
18 Hellas Verona -26 30
19 Cremonese -34 24
20 Sampdoria -45 18

Spezia conclude their season with a home match against Torino (Saturday) and a trip to Roma (June 4). Hellas Verona finish with a visit from Empoli (Sunday) and a game at AC Milan (June 4). Lecce go to Monza (Sunday) and host Bologna (June 4).

What happens if teams finish level on points:

  • Lecce and Spezia: Head-to-head records are irrelevant because both of their meetings ended in goalless draws, meaning overall goal difference becomes the tiebreaker. Advantage Lecce.
  • Lecce and Hellas Verona. Verona beat Lecce twice over the course of the season. Advantage Verona.
  • Spezia and Hellas Verona: Spezia took four points from Verona, meaning Verona only took a single point. Advantage Spezia.
  • All three: Lecce have the fewest points in head-to-head encounters between the teams and would be relegated.

Fighting for promotion

The playoffs are underway after Frosinone and Genoa confirmed their ascents via the top two automatic promotion places.

FC Sudtirol – hailing from the predominantly German-speaking autonomous province of South Tyrol – play Reggina in Friday’s opening qualifier, and Cagliari and Venezia meet in the second clash Saturday. The victor of the first match will face Bari in the semifinals, and the second-game winner gets Parma.

The second leg of the playoff final will take place June 11.

?? Ligue 1

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Ligue 1’s penultimate weekend kicks off at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Title race

It’s practically done. Paris Saint-Germain hold a six-point lead over Lens with two matches remaining. Even if the reigning champions lose both of their games, Lens would need to win out with lopsided scorelines to overcome PSG’s hefty goal-difference advantage.

Standings with two matches left:

# Team GD Points
1 Paris Saint-Germain +50 84
2 Lens +34 78
3 Marseille +29 73

PSG have an away match at Strasbourg, while Lens host Ajaccio on Saturday.

European qualification

Marseille are likely to finish third and will therefore need to pass through Champions League qualifiers to join PSG and Lens in the group stage. Fourth and fifth are unaccounted for; those respective finishes result in qualification for the Europa League group stage and Europa Conference League qualifiers.

Standings with two matches left:

# Team GD Points
4 Monaco +15 65
5 Lille +20 63
6 Rennes +27 62
7 Lyon +17 59

There’s a potentially decisive encounter this Saturday when Rennes and Monaco face off in Brittany. Lille take on Nantes, while Lyon tackle Reims in concurrent fixtures.

Relegation battle


Angers, Ajaccio, and Troyes are already relegated. But Ligue 1 is dropping from 20 teams to 18 for the 2023-24 campaign, meaning one fewer team is promoted from Ligue 2 while an extra outfit falls from the top flight.

Nantes and Auxerre are currently circling the plughole. Strasbourg should be safe.

Standings with two matches left:

# Team GD Points
15 Strasbourg -7 39
16 Auxerre -26 34
17 Nantes -18 33
18 Troyes -35 23
19 Ajaccio -49 23
20 Angers -48 15

Auxerre arguably have easier fixtures to round out the season. The Burgundy club faces a trip to Toulouse on Saturday and a home match against Lens the following weekend – two teams that should have nothing to play for – while Nantes meet Europa League-chasing Lille before Angers visit Stade de la Beaujoire on June 3.

Fighting for promotion

With no playoffs this season, Ligue 2’s top two will be the only promoted teams. The second tier’s penultimate round of fixtures kicks off at 2:45 p.m. ET on Friday.

Le Havre missed out on the chance to clinch a Ligue 1 place when they surprisingly lost 2-0 at home to relegation-threatened Valenciennes on Monday, but they’ll have another chance when they venture to fourth-placed Bastia. Le Havre, known for their highly successful youth academy, finish their season against Dijon on June 2.

Standings with two matches left:

# Team GD Points
1 Le Havre +26 71
2 Bordeaux +25 69
3 Metz +26 66

Annecy and Rodez, teams currently positioned 13th or lower, are Bordeaux’s last two opponents of the season.