Manchester United opened up a five-point gap over Chelsea that leaves them on the brink of lifting the Premiership trophy aloft for the first time since the 2002/03 season. In contrast, Schalke 04's two-point lead in the Bundesliga was halved, with Stuttgart overtaking Werder Bremen on their tails. Two points continue to separate the top three in La Liga, with Barcelona, Sevilla and Real Madrid all winning.

Lyon and Inter Milan may have  already secured the Ligue 1 and Serie A honours  respectively, but with UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup places to play for, as well as top flight security, there was no shortage of action in France and Italy over the weekend.

Premiership: United on verge of crown
Manchester United moved to within touching distance of their 16th league title by  extending their cushion over holders Chelsea  to five points with just three games remaining. However, with the top two kicking off simultaneously, the title picture had a very different look to it at half-time. Indeed, the Blues led at home to Bolton Wanderers, while the Red Devils trailed at Everton. But the Premiership's unpredictability was once again in evidence with Kevin Davies earning the Trotters a point at Chelsea and United storming from two goals down to overpower their hosts 4-2.

Seemingly dead and buried six weeks ago, a Carlos Tevez-inspired West Ham United gained their fifth win in seven outings,  3-0 at Wigan Athletic , who dropped to fourth-bottom, above the Hammers on goal difference.

The top three: Manchester United (85 pts), Chelsea (80), Liverpool (67)
The bottom three: West Ham United (35 pts), Charlton Athletic (33), Watford (24)
The top scorers: Didier Drogba (19), Cristiano Ronaldo (16), Benni McCarthy (15)
The weekend stat: Aston Villa won their third straight away game, 3-1 at Manchester City, to extend their unbeaten run to seven matches. 

Bundesliga: Stuttgart close in on Schalke
With the top two both losing, Stuttgart moved to within one point of the Bundesliga summit with just three rounds remaining. Kevin Kuranyi fired leaders Schalke 04 ahead in the Ruhr derby, but after Zvjezdan Misimovic had levelled for Bochum,  Theofanis Gekas  settled the contest in the hosts' favour.

Schalke's defeat  opened the door for Werder Bremen to go top, but Arminia Bielefeld compounded a  miserable few days  for the Thomas Schaaf's men. Miroslav Klose was invovled in Bremen's two equalisers, scoring the first and setting up Hugo Almeida for the second, but Christian Eigler  clinched a 3-2 win  for Die Arminen 11 minutes from time. Roberto Hilbert scored the only goal to hand  Stuttgart victory over Borussia Monchengladbach , whose relegation was confirmed.

The top three: Schalke 04 (62 pts), Stuttgart (61), Werder Bremen (60)
The bottom three: Alemannia Aachen (33 pts), Mainz (31), Borussia Monchengladbach (25)
The top scorers: Theofanis Gekas (19), Alexander Frei (15), Kevin Kuranyi (14), Roy Makaay (14)
The weekend stat: Two free-kicks from Alexander Frei drove Borussia Dortmund to a 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt and moved them clear of danger. In four of the Swiss forward's last five scoring matches, he has netted doubles.

Ligue 1: Bordeaux go second
Second met third in the battle to join Lyon in next season's Champions League, and it was who  Bordeaux who undid Lens  1-0 to replace their rivals in the runners-up spot. Lyon, meanwhile, beat Le Mans 2-1 to retain hope of breaking their own record Ligue 1 points record. Gerard Houllier's charges must take maximum points from their remaining four outings to surpass the 84 points they pocketed last season.

Third-bottom Troyes edged out Sedan, one place below them, to preserve their survival chances. Blaise Matuidi, 20, was the saviour for the hosts, his two last-20 minute stunners snatching them a 3-2 victory that moved them three points behind fourth-bottom Nice, who drew 0-0 with Auxerre.

The top three: Lyon (74 pts), Bordeaux (55), Lens (53)
The bottom three: Troyes (35 pts), Sedan (31), Nantes (30)
The top scorers: Steve Savidan (13), Pauleta (12), Ismael Bangoura (11), Aruna Dindane (11), Fred (11)
The weekend stat: Nancy claimed their first win over Lille at the Stadium Nord since 1991, a 75th minute Issiar Dia header grabbing Pablo Correa's side their first away victory of the campaign. 

La Liga: Top three taste victory
Barcelona continue at the head of the La Liga standings following a  1-0 reverse of Levante , but Sevilla and Real Madrid stay in close attendance following victories over Espanyol and Athletic Bilbao respectively. Samuel Eto'o was the only Blaugrana player to find a way past Levante keeper Jose Molina, but the Cameroonian's piece of opportunism in the 28th minute proved enough to keep Frank Rijkaard's side a point clear of Sevilla, who  beat Espanyol 3-1  in a meeting of UEFA Cup semi-finalists.

Real Madrid sit a further point back in third after a Ruud van Nistelrooij brace propelled them to a  4-1 triumph at Athletic Bilbao .

The top three: Barcelona (62 pts), Sevilla (61), Real Madrid (60)
The bottom three:  Celta Vigo (30 pts), Real Sociedad (27), Gimnastic (24)
The top scorers: Frederic Kanoute (19), Diego Milito (19), Ruud van Nistelrooij (18)
The weekend stat: Joaquin scored more goals inside four minutes against Recreativo Huelva than he had all season in La Liga, his second half double leading  Valencia to a 2-0 success  that moved them up to fourth. 

Serie A: Honours even in Rome derby
Francesco Totti made history by playing in his 23rd Derby della Capitale, a record for a Roma player, but he was unable to inspire Lazio's downfall in a  0-0 draw . The stalemate allowed AC Milan, who rested several first-teamers ahead of their Champions League semi-final,  second leg against Manchester United  but did enough to  sink Torino 1-0 , to leapfrog Lazio into third position.

Parma made it 13 points from a possible 15 by overcoming Cagliari 2-1 at home to move three points clear of danger, while Reggina's 3-2 win at tailenders Ascoli elevated them from the bottom three.

The top three: Inter Milan (87 pts), Roma (69), Milan (59)
The bottom three: Chievo (32 pts), Messina (25), Ascoli (20)
The top scorers: Francesco Totti (21), Cristiano Lucarelli (18), Rolando Bianchi (17)
The weekend stat: Palermo won away at Livorno for the first time since 1949, a 75th minute David Di Michele chip sealing a 2-1 victory on Renzo Gobbo's debut at the controls and halting their 11-match winless run.

Elsewhere
Portuguese BWINLIGA  pacesetters FC Porto stumbled to a  2-1 defeat at Boavista  on Saturday, but to Os Dragões' relief, their two remaining title challengers, Benfica and Sporting, drew 1-1 in the Lisbon derby on Sunday evening. Porto now lead Sporting by three points, with Benfica a further point back in third.

Unbeaten in the league since December and on a six-match winning streak, Sporting sprinted into a second minute lead when Liedson silenced the home audience. But Fabrizio Miccoli's goal midway through the first half earned Benfica, who were the last team to inflict defeat on Sporting, a point.

Coach of the week
During his playing days, Giovanni Trapattoni stayed loyal to AC Milan for almost the entirety of his career. As a coach, however, the Italian has graced a selection of clubs with his presence and on Saturday, he became only the second gaffer in history to win domestic league crowns in four different European countries. Trapattoni achieved the feat by  leading Red Bull Salzburg to glory  in Austria - ironically the homeland of the man he emulated, Ernst Happel - winning his 20th managerial title in the process.

Teams of the week
With the European season drawing to its conclusion, it is once again time to honour those teams who wrapped up the domestic title with games to spare; Red Bull Salzburg and  Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia , as well as PSV Eindhoven, who clinched their third successive league gold on a  dramatic final day  in the Dutch Eredivisie. Indeed, had it not been for Philip Cocu's goal sealing a 5-1 win for PSV, Ajax would have been crowned champions on goals scored.