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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 in midweek. Aston Villa clinched the final European place on the last day of the season, taking care of business against Brighton to earn a spot in the Europa Conference League. Villa's victory made wins for chasing hopefuls Tottenham and Brentford moot on Sunday.

Final standings:

# Team GD Points
7 Aston Villa +5 61
8 Tottenham Hotspur +7 60
9 Brentford +12 59

Relegation battle

Everton did just enough to avoid the drop, beating Bournemouth 1-0 on Sunday and retaining their status as one of the few teams never relegated from the Premier League. The Toffees' win at a nervous - and then raucous - Goodison Park meant that Leicester City and Leeds United joined Southampton as this year's relegated clubs.

Final standings:

# Team GD Points
17 Everton -23 36
18 Leicester City -17 34
19 Leeds United -30 31
20 Southampton -37 25


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

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

After finishing 16th, VfB Stuttgart go into a two-legged playoff with Hamburg, the side that finished 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


Darmstadt had already rubber-stamped their Bundesliga return after a six-year absence going into the weekend, leaving one more automatic promotion place available on Sunday.

Heidenheim snatched it away from Hamburg in dramatic fashion, scoring twice in stoppage time - including a 99th-minute winner - to beat Jahn Regensburg and reach the Bundesliga for the first time.

Hamburg, the famed former European champions, thought they had done enough when they beat Sandhausen in their own match. Fans stormed the pitch in celebration, only to then learn that Heidenheim, who just moments earlier were trailing 2-1, had battled back for a shocking late win. Instead of automatic promotion, Hamburg will have to settle for the promotion/relegation playoff against Stuttgart.

Final standings:

# Team GD Points
1 Heidenheim +31 67
2 Darmstadt +17 67
3 Hamburg +25 66

🇪🇸 La Liga

Europa Press Sports / Europa Press / Getty

European qualification

Real Sociedad followed Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid into next season's Champions League via a fourth-place finish, despite their loss to Atletico on Sunday.

Villarreal and Real Betis will take part in the 2023-24 Europa League group stage.

The final-day chaos will surround the fight for seventh, with six clubs potentially finishing in the spot that currently gifts a Europa Conference League qualifying berth.

Standings with one match left:

# Team GD Points
7 Osasuna -6 50
8 Athletic Bilbao +4 50
9 Girona +4 49
10 Rayo Vallecano -5 49
11 Sevilla -6 49
12 Mallorca -9 47

Sevilla's participation in this scrap 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. Espanyol held out until Sunday, but eventually bowed out of the top tier by conceding a stoppage-time goal to Valencia. That leaves one relegation place to be decided, and there should be some excitement with six teams scrambling to avoid the drop.

Standings with one match left:

# Team GD Points
13 Cadiz -23 41
14 Getafe -11 41
15 Valencia -3 41
16 Almeria -16 40
17 Celta Vigo -11 40
18 Valladolid -30 39
19 Espanyol -17 36
20 Elche -37 24

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

Fighting for promotion

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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

Scudetto winners Napoli will be joined in next season's Champions League by Lazio, Inter Milan, and AC Milan. The Rossoneri ended Italy's top-four race on Sunday by beating Juventus.

That leaves Atalanta, Roma, and Juve to battle for the remaining European places, assuming there are no late surprises with regards to Juventus' on-again, off-again points penalty. However, Jose Mourinho's outfit could take a backdoor route into the Champions League if it beats Sevilla in Wednesday's Europa League final.

Standings with one match left:

# Team GD Points
5 Atalanta +15 61
6 Roma +11 60
7 Juventus +22 59

Relegation battle

Gabriele Maltinti / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Sampdoria and Cremonese are going down to Serie B. Lecce secured their Serie A survival with a 101st-minute penalty to beat Monza on Sunday, leaving Spezia and Hellas Verona in a straight fight to avoid the final relegation spot.

Current standings:

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

Spezia conclude their season with a trip to Roma (June 4). Hellas Verona finish with a game at AC Milan (June 4).

If the teams finish level on points, they'll meet in a relegation playoff that was introduced this season.

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.

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