European Leagues review
The champagne corks popped for the new champions in England, Italy and Spain, where Manchester United, Inter Milan and Barcelona all sealed the domestic crown with matches in hand. By contrast, the French and German title races will not be decided for at least another week. FIFA.com reviews the weekend's action from around Europe’s leading leagues.
Premier League: United make it record-equalling 18
A goalless draw at home to Arsenal proved enough for Manchester United to secure a third consecutive title. Moreover, it took the Red Devils level with Liverpool as the record 18-time English champions.
The Reds stayed second with a 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion, who became the first side to be relegated, while Chelsea beat Blackburn Rovers by the same score to remain in third.
Top three: Manchester United (87 points), Liverpool (83), Chelsea (80)
Bottom three: Newcastle United (34), Middlesbrough (32), West Bromwich Albion (31)
Leading scorers: Nicolas Anelka, Cristiano Ronaldo (both 18 goals), Steven Gerrard (16)
Weekend stat: 18 - Manchester United’s 18th domestic title, their seventh in the last 11 seasons, takes them level with Liverpool at the head of the English league’s roll of honour.
La Liga: Barça complete domestic double
Barcelona's title party started late on Saturday evening, without them kicking a ball. Real Madrid’s 3-2 defeat away to Villarreal meant the Catalan giants could no longer be denied their 19th La Liga triumph. Secure in that knowledge, a weakened Barça fell 2-1 to Mallorca yesterday. The weekend's results meant Pep Guardiola’s side collected a second trophy in just a matter of days, following victory over Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey.
Elsewhere, Diego Forlan struck the only goal as Atletico Madrid leapfrogged Valencia to go fourth in a direct confrontation for the final UEFA Champions League qualifying berth. In a relegation six-pointer between the clubs in the bottom two positions, Numancia beat Recreativo Huelva 1-0 to send their opponents down.
Top three: Barcelona (86 points), Real Madrid (78), Sevilla (64)
Bottom three: Osasuna (37), Numancia (35), Recreativo Huelva (33)
Leading scorers: Samuel Eto'o (29 goals), Diego Forlan (28), David Villa (25)
Weekend stat: 104 – new Spanish champions Barcelona have netted 104 league goals so far this term. Barça require another four goals from their last two fixtures to set a new record.
Serie A: Four on the bounce for Inter
Inter Milan rose to the top of the Serie A standings after 11 matches, and will now remain there until the end of the campaign. As in the case of Barcelona, Jose Mourinho’s men were confirmed as champions courtesy of a slip-up elsewhere. Chief pursuers AC Milan fell 2-1 away to Udinese on Saturday, kick-starting the party for I Nerazzurri, whose celebrations continued with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Siena yesterday.
With the title race done and dusted, attention in Italy has turned to the tense battle for Champions League qualifying spots. Both Milan and third-placed Juventus, who were held 2-2 by Atalanta, dropped valuable points. Fourth-placed Fiorentina beat Sampdoria 1-0 and are now just a point off Juve.
Top three: Inter (81 points), AC Milan (71), Juventus (68)
Bottom three: Bologna (33), Reggina (30), Lecce (29)
Leading scorers: Marco di Vaio (23 goals), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (22), Diego Milito (20)
Weekend stat: 4 - Inter Milan become the first club in more than 60 years to claim the Scudetto four times in a row.
Bundesliga: Wolves get set to party
Wolfsburg are poised for the first Bundesliga triumph in their history. The Wolves won 5-0 away to neighbours Hannover, courtesy of an Edin Dzeko hat-trick and a Grafite double, and now go into the final match of the season two points clear at the top. Bayern were level with Wolfsburg at the start of play but drew 2-2 in Hoffenheim, while Hertha Berlin’s title dream effectively ended in a goalless stalemate at home to Schalke. Stuttgart beat Energie Cottbus 2-0 to draw level on points with Bayern. The sides meet in Munich next week.
Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund signed off in front of their home crowds in style, with a 5-0 win over Monchengladbach and a 6-0 defeat of Arminia Bielefeld respectively. A tired Hamburg side lost 1-0 at home to Cologne, allowing Dortmund to go fifth and nose in front in the race to qualify for the UEFA Europa League.
Top three: Wolfsburg (66 points), Bayern Munich, Stuttgart (both 64)
Bottom three: Arminia Bielefeld, Energie Cottbus (both 27), Karlsruhe (26)
Leading scorers: Grafite (26 goals), Edin Dzeko (25), Mario Gomez (23)
Weekend stat: 51 – the number of goals netted by Wolfsburg strike pair Grafite and Dzeko so far. Only the Gerd Muller-Uli Hoeness pairing (53 goals) have ever struck more often, some four decades ago.
Ligue 1: Bordeaux go top at OM’s expense
Bordeaux recorded a ninth win on the bounce to go top of the standings for the first time this term. The new leaders came back from a goal down to beat Le Mans 3-2. A sixth domestic title beckons for the Girondins, who are now three points clear of the pack with two to play.
Dethroned champions Lyon did the men from Bordeaux a mighty favour with a 3-1 win away to second-placed Marseille in the biggest match of the weekend. Karim Benzema fired a brace for Lyon as Marseille suffered a bitter setback in their quest for gold.
Top three: Bordeaux (74), Marseille (71), Lyon (67)
Bottom three: Sochaux (36), Nantes (34), Le Havre (25)
Leading scorers: Andre-Pierre Gignac (22 goals), Guillaume Hoarau (17), Karim Benzema (16)
Weekend stat: 13 - Marseille lost for the first time in 13 matches. The defeat saw OM slide from top spot to second, three points off the lead.
Red Bull Salzburg recovered the Austrian league crown they last won in 2007, while Dinamo Zagreb took the honours in Croatia for the fourth time on the trot. In the Netherlands, Heerenveen won the cup for the first time in their history.
The battle for the Belgian title between champions Standard Liege and the nation’s most successful club Anderlecht will go into extra-time, metaphorically speaking. On Saturday, the clubs finished the season level on 77 points and 24 wins apiece. As goal difference is not the determining factor in Belgium, the teams now go into a home and away play-off for the title.
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