The hottest title races to watch outside Europe's top 5 leagues
Gualter Fatia / Getty Images Sport / Getty

It's early April but, with the exception of Serie A, matters in the upper reaches of Europe's leading leagues are largely a foregone conclusion.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain weren't able to secure the title in their respective leagues this weekend, but it is inevitable that those honours will be wrapped up in the coming weeks.

Barcelona is also running away with things atop La Liga, while Bayern Munich wrapped up the Bundesliga's summit with a 4-1 win over Augsburg in Saturday's early kick-off.

Here, theScore recommends some exciting title races to keep you entertained before this summer's World Cup.

Primeira Liga

For the majority of the Primeira Liga season, Portuguese heavyweight FC Porto either held first place outright or shared the top spot. That dominant stretch, however, came to a crashing halt last weekend, when the Dragoes were stunned by a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Belenenses - Porto's second loss of the campaign. That rare slip-up allowed four-time defending champion SL Benfica to nab sole control of first place for the first time this season by a single point.

With only five matches remaining, the Primeira Liga is shaping up for yet another tense finale between the two mutually hated rivals. Separation may not be far away, either: Benfica hosts Porto next Sunday at the Estadio da Luz in a pivotal edition of O Classico that could all but officially crown a champion. - Jonathan Soveta

Super Lig

All eyes are on Istanbul as the city's Big Three and a local newcomer vie for Turkish top-flight honours. In the fourth year of its current incarnation, Istanbul Basaksehir sits second, a point adrift of table-topping Galatasaray.

A cast of reclamation projects likes Arda Turan, Emmanuel Adebayor, Emre, Gael Clichy, and Eljero Elia have guided the state-owned Ministry of Youth and Sports-run side to massive results this year over fellow Bosphorus brethren Fenerbahce, Besiktas, and Galatasaray. Abdullah Avci's motley crew pays Galatasaray a visit next week in a crucial clash as Basaksehir looks to improve on last season's runner-up finish to Besiktas. - Michael Chandler

Russian Premier League

The battle for the Russian Premier League title rests, once again, in Moscow, where league-leader Lokomotiv Moscow holds a slim advantage over Spartak Moscow and a wider lead over third-placed CSKA Moscow, two of the country's most established outfits.

As CSKA is also concerned with Europa League action against Arsenal, the race is likely down to two teams, as Lokomotiv and Spartak jockey for position. Spartak is behind by two points, but has also played an extra match, opening the door for a five-point margin should Yury Semin's men do away with Dynamo Moscow next weekend. While free-scoring Quincy Promes promises to see Spartak to a few more victories this season, the challenger will need to rely on results outside its control. The two sides already played to a 0-0 draw in their final meeting of the 2017-18 season back in March. - Armen Bedakian


In Mel Brooks' "The Producers," Max Bialystock is a temperamental con man and once-great Broadway baron whose best days are behind him. Not so for Max's namesake Jagiellonia Bialystok, which has had a fantastic Ekstraklasa campaign to qualify for the championship round. Lech Poznan sits top of Poland's first tier despite a five-month long winless away streak. The top eight sides in the table will now compete in the next stage of matches in hopes of qualifying for European play and knocking off league holder Legia Warsaw. - MC


FC Copenhagen's two-year reign as champion of Denmark's top flight is on the verge of ending. Brondby and FC Midtjylland hold a commanding 16-point lead over Copenhagen with nine games remaining in the Champions Round. Midtjylland last won the title in 2015, while Brondby is attempting to win its first Superliga crown in 13 years. - Gordon Brunt

Nemzeti Bajnoksag I

Videoton, a club temporarily playing at the 3,816-capacity home of village club Puskas Akademia while the Solstoi Stadium is erected, is pursuing its third Hungarian title under the watch of promising young coach Marko Nikolic. A statement 3-0 win over Ujpest on Saturday kept hopes alive that the three-point gap behind Budapest titan Ferencvaros can be vaulted. Ferencvaros, handled by ex-Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Doll, is a strong favourite, and can call on considerable experience in veterans Zoltan Gera and Tamas Priskin. - DR

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

The hottest title races to watch outside Europe's top 5 leagues
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