European Leagues preview

Germany provides the highlight for fans in Europe this weekend, with surprise package Wolfsburg on the cusp of sealing a maiden Bundesliga trophy. The situation is only slightly less dramatic in France, as Bordeaux close in on their first title in a decade. The champions are already crowned in England, Italy and Spain, but the tension is still high in a series of relegation dogfights and battles for places in Europe. previews the forthcoming action around the continent.

Premier League: Moment of truth for Magpies
Manchester United are the champions, Liverpool and Chelsea are in the UEFA Champions League, and Arsenal will play an eliminator for a berth in Europe’s elite club competition, so the fight to avoid relegation provides the excitement on the last day.

Newcastle United and their caretaker-manager Alan Shearer travel to Aston Villa for a fixture they cannot afford to lose – although a draw or even a win would not guarantee the Magpies’ top-flight status. However, direct rivals Hull City and Sunderland face Manchester United and Chelsea respectively, so some kind of result could yet save Newcastle’s skin.

The question: Can Newcastle stave off relegation and remain in the division that they have called home since 1993?
The big game: Aston Villa-Newcastle United, Sunday 24 May, 17.00, Villa Park
The quote: "There is a saying that fortune favours the brave – let’s hope so, because if that’s true, I think we’ll be ok this weekend," Iain Dowie, Newcastle United assistant coach

La Liga: Temperature rising for Valencia derby
The main focus on the penultimate day is the final finishing order at the top, and an engrossing struggle to steer clear of the drop. Newly-crowned champions Barcelona entertain relegation strugglers Osasuna, no doubt with one eye on next Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United in Rome.

A pack of five comprising Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Villarreal and Deportivo are jostling for position behind top two Barça and Real Madrid. The atmosphere will be most heated at El Madrigal, where neighbours Villarreal and Valencia go head to head in the fight for fourth place. Sevilla and Deportivo also square off this weekend. At the wrong end of the table, the loser between Getafe and Numancia will probably go down.

The question: Can Barcelona’s Samuel Eto'o (29 goals) keep his nose in front of Atletico Madrid hitman Diego Forlan (28) in the race to finish as top scorer?
The big game: Villarreal-Valencia, Saturday 23 May, 21.00, El Madrigal
The quote: "It’ll be a closely-fought derby, because a Champions League qualifier is the prize. We have to win both our remaining games and hope Atletico Madrid drop points. We can still do it," Pablo Hernandez, Valencia midfielder

Serie A: Living legend bows out in Milan
In Italy, where Inter wrapped up the title last week, one of the modern greats will take leave of his adoring public at the weekend. AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini steps out on to the hallowed Guiseppe Meazza turf for the last time in his extraordinary career. There’s a game to play, too, as I Rossoneri need three points off Roma to guarantee their berth in the Champions League.

Elsewhere, caretaker-coach Ciro Ferrara and his Juventus side aim to end a poor run of seven games without a win when they travel to Siena. Among those hoping for another slip from La Vecchia Signora are Fiorentina, who can send Lecce down if they go there and win.

The question: Can Ferrara halt Juventus’s disastrous slide, and perhaps secure himself a permanent job as coach?
The big game: AC Milan-Roma, Sunday 24 May, 15.00, Guiseppe Meazza
The quote: "What I’ve always found amazing about Maldini is that whenever Milan score, he comes running over to congratulate the scorer, no matter where he was on the pitch at the time. I thought it was really nice,"
Kaka, AC Milan midfielder

Ligue 1: Bordeaux close to glory
A tenth victory on the spin could also land the biggest domestic prize of all for Bordeaux. If Laurent Blanc’s men beat Monaco and closest rivals Marseille drop points away to Nancy, Bordeaux would be crowned champions for the first time in a decade. Should OM lose, Yoann Gourcuff and his team-mates would only need a draw.

Dethroned champions Lyon aim to beat Caen and ensure at least a qualifier for the Champions League. The penultimate matchday also pits two illustrious teams together in a genuine relegation six-pointer, with third-bottom Sochaux entertaining the side directly below them, Nantes.

The question: By the end of the weekend, will we know who has finally ended an era dominated by Lyon?
The big game: Sochaux-Nantes, Saturday 23 May, 21.00, Stade Auguste-Bonal
The quote: "We have to face the truth: Bordeaux are clear favourites for the title now," Lorik Cana, Marseille captain

Bundesliga: Wolfsburg poised for triumph
Felix Magath can confirm his growing reputation as the star among the German coaching fraternity this weekend. Already a championship winner with Stuttgart and Bayern Munich, Magath is on the verge of leading unfancied Wolfsburg to the first league title in their history. To be absolutely sure, the Wolves need a home win over Werder Bremen, who lost the UEFA Cup final after extra time in midweek.

If Wolfsburg fail to make it 16 home wins this season, Bayern and Stuttgart can still nick in and snatch gold. In a suitably ironic twist, the clubs meet in Munich, with the losers facing the very real prospect of a season out of the Champions League. At the bottom, Borussia Monchengladbach, Arminia Bielefeld, Energie Cottbus and Karlsruhe are engaged in a desperate fight to stave off relegation.

The question: Will prolific strike partners Grafite (26 goals) and Edin Dzeko (25) fire Wolfsburg to victory and the title against Bremen?
The big game: Bayern-Stuttgart, Saturday 23 May, 15.30, Allianz Arena
The quote: "We’re very strong at home. If we play our normal game, we should be able to beat Bremen," Zvejzdan Misimovic, Wolfsburg playmaker

In Belgium, the championship has gone to a play-off for the first time since 1986. Anderlecht and Standard Liege drew 1-1 in Brussels on Thursday night, with the decider in Liege this Sunday.

In Turkey, leaders Besiktas meet champions Galatasaray in an appealing Istanbul derby. Besiktas then travel to Denizlispor in their last match.

The race in Scotland has also gone to the last day. Rangers, two points clear of runners-up Celtic, travel to Dundee United, where they have only won twice in their last ten visits. The Bhoys, meantime, host Hearts.

Aston Villa-Newcastle United, Bayern Munich-Stuttgart and Palmeiras-Sao Paulo are among the matches on the FIFA World Leagues Predictor's Round 36 menu. If you haven't already, be sure to sign up and take a shot at winning this weekend's prize.