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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.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Premier League

Andrew Powell / Liverpool FC / Getty

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.


Richard Heathcote / Getty Images Sport / Getty

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.

Luton Town joined them Saturday by defeating Coventry City on penalties in the promotion playoff final at Wembley Stadium.

The Hatters were relegated from the top tier 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. But after so many years of heartache and financial struggle, Premier League football is coming to Kenilworth Road.

🇩🇪 Bundesliga

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Title race

Germany provided incredible twists and turns Saturday.

Borussia Dortmund, who last won the Bundesliga in 2012, went into the final day of the season two points ahead of rivals Bayern Munich. They simply needed to beat Mainz at home to claim the title and end Bayern's 10-year reign. Instead, they threw it all away.

Dortmund could only muster a 2-2 draw; they conceded two goals in the opening 24 minutes and couldn't fight all the way back. Bayern, tied 1-1 late in their concurrent fixture against FC Koln, got an 89th-minute winner from Jamal Musiala to claim their 11th consecutive title on goal difference.

Final standings:

# Team GD Points
1 Bayern Munich +54 71
2 Borussia Dortmund +39 71

European qualification

Bayern, Dortmund, and RB Leipzig were already assured of Champions League football going into the weekend. Union Berlin capped a spectacular season by joining them, beating Werder Bremen to secure fourth place. Freiburg finished fifth, settling for the Europa League, while Bayer Leverkusen remained in sixth and will enter the Europa Conference League in the qualifying stage.

Relegation battle

DeFodi Images / DeFodi Images / Getty

"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. They were joined Saturday by Schalke, who lost 4-2 to Leipzig.

After finishing 16th, VfB Stuttgart go into a two-legged playoff with the side that comes third in the second tier. The winner earns a place in the Bundesliga next season.

Final standings:

# Team GD Points
14 VfL Bochum -32 35
15 Augsburg -21 34
16 Stuttgart -12 33
17 Schalke -36 31
18 Hertha Berlin -27 29

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 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

Europa Press Sports / Europa Press / Getty

La Liga's penultimate weekend runs through this 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.

Current standings:

# 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 -6 49
11 Mallorca -6 47
12 Rayo Vallecano -6 46

Unlike the clubs around them, Sevilla only have one match remaining after losing to Real Madrid on Saturday. Everyone else is still to play twice. Sevilla's participation in this scrap also confuses matters due to their involvement in the Europa League final. 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 match:

  • 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

NurPhoto / NurPhoto / Getty

Granada and Las Palmas secured the two automatic promotion places on offer Saturday. The former, who will be making an immediate return to La Liga after last year's relegation, clinched top spot in the second division by defeating Leganes. In the standout fixture of the weekend in Spain's second tier, Las Palmas held Alaves to a goalless draw, thus condemning the Basque club to a spot in the promotion playoffs.

Alaves will be joined by Levante, Eibar, and Albacete in that four-team scrap. Of those sides, 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.

Final standings:

# Team GD Points
1 Granada +25 75
2 Las Palmas +20 72
3 Levante +16 72
4 Alaves +14 71
5 Eibar +9 71
6 Albacete +11 67

🇮🇹 Serie A

Stefano Guidi / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Serie A's penultimate weekend runs through this 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.

Current standings:

# Team GD Points
2 Inter Milan +28 69
3 Lazio +27 68
4 AC Milan +18 64
5 Atalanta +15 61
6 Roma +11 60
7 Juventus +23 59

Scudetto winners Napoli and Lazio were already assured of spots in next season's Champions League group stage going into the weekend. Inter then sealed a top-four position when they beat Atalanta on Saturday. Atalanta, by virtue of their inferior head-to-head with Inter's rivals AC Milan, can no longer finish in the top four following the 3-2 defeat at the San Siro.

Roma, meanwhile, lost to Fiorentina on Saturday and can't finish fourth in the league because, like Atalanta, they only have one game remaining. However, Jose Mourinho's outfit could take a backdoor route into the Champions League if it beats Sevilla in Wednesday's Europa League final.

Relegation battle

Gabriele Maltinti / Getty Images Sport / Getty

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

Current standings:

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

Spezia were crushed 4-0 by Torino on Saturday, and conclude their season with 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.

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 - beat Reggina in Friday's opening qualifier, and will now face Bari in the semifinals. Cagliari took down Venezia on Saturday, setting up a meeting with Parma.

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

🇫🇷 Ligue 1

Xavier Laine / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Title race

Paris Saint-Germain got the job done on Saturday, earning a 1-1 draw with Strasbourg that sealed their second consecutive French league title and record-setting 11th overall. With just one match remaining, Lens, enjoying a brilliant season, can no longer catch Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Co.

Current standings:

# Team GD Points
1 Paris Saint-Germain +50 85
2 Lens +37 81
3 Marseille +28 73

European qualification

Marseille will finish third and 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 one match left:

# Team GD Points
4 Lille +21 66
5 Rennes +29 65
6 Monaco +15 65
7 Lyon +20 62

Rennes' 2-0 win over Monaco on Saturday shuffled the pack heading into the final day on June 3, which should provide plenty of drama.

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.

After Strasbourg secured safety with their aforementioned draw against PSG on Saturday, this race now comes down to Nantes and Auxerre heading into the last matchday of the campaign.

Standings with one match left:

# Team GD Points
16 Auxerre -26 35
17 Nantes -19 33
18 Troyes -36 23
19 Ajaccio -52 23
20 Angers -47 18

Both teams close out the season against opponents who, on the surface, have nothing to play for: Auxerre take on Lens, while Nantes host Angers.

Fighting for promotion

With no playoffs this season, Ligue 2's top two will be the only promoted teams.

Standings with one match left:

# Team GD Points
1 Le Havre +26 72
2 Metz +27 69
3 Bordeaux +24 69

The final day of the Ligue 2 season is June 2.

Le Havre, known for their highly successful youth academy, finish their campaign against Dijon. Metz host Bastia, while Bordeaux take on Rodez.

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