The five-point European review
It was nerve-shredding stuff for football fans in many parts of Europe as the top leagues go down to the wire. The last day in Germany saw new records set, with Lionel Messi hitting the headlines again in Spain. The title race was settled in Italy, but will go to the final match in England. In France, the lead changed hands at least temporarily. FIFA.com reviews five interesting aspects of the weekend action in Europe’s major leagues.
Inter Milan-AC Milan, Matchday 37 in Serie A
Inter had the outstanding Diego Milito to thank for a 4-2 victory over bitter rivals AC in the 210th Derby della Madonnina. The Argentinian scored early on and then twice after half-time to claim a match-winning hat-trick. Maicon rounded things off three minutes from time with a stunning right-footed strike, although the match was far from one-sided as Zlatan Ibrahimovic had handed I Rossoneri the lead with goals a minute before and after half-time.
The visitors’ sixth defeat of the campaign had grave consequences, as it meant they could no longer defend the league title. As for I Nerazzurri, a distinctly average season could yet end up with a place in Europe next term.
Borussia Dortmund sealed the German championship two weeks ago, but there has been no let-up from the men in yellow and black as they completed their Bundesliga programme in record-breaking style. BVB became the first team to go 28 matches in a row without defeat within a single season and also finished on 81 points, beating the previous best total of 79 set by Bayern Munich in 1971/72 and 1972/73.
Even Dortmund's long streak without a loss pales in comparison to Juventus, though, as the men from Turin have still to taste defeat after 37 league matches this season and sealed a 28th Scudetto with a game to spare. Juve beat Caligari 2-0, enough to secure the title in the light of AC Milan’s loss to Inter. With a game to play, Juventus lead AC at the top of the standings by four points.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Schalke became the first Dutchman to finish top scorer in the Bundesliga with a total of 29 goals this term, also the highest single-season total by an overseas import in the German top flight.
Manchester City have one hand on their first English championship crown in 44 years thanks to Yaya Toure. The African Player of the Year scored both goals in City’s 2-0 victory away to Newcastle. Manchester United remain level on points after beating Swansea 2-0, but Roberto Mancini's team are ahead of the Red Devils thanks to a superior goal difference of eight. On the last day, City host struggling Queens Park Rangers, with United away to Sunderland.
The title race in Italy may be over, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic is odds-on to finish the campaign with a prestigious personal honour. The Sweden ace has 28 goals to his name, five ahead of rivals Milito and Napoli hitman Edinson Cavani, and is set to become the first player to finish top scorer in Italy with two different clubs. The 30-year-old achieved the feat with Inter in 2009.
900 - Arsenal's Premier League meeting with Norwich marked a special milestone for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, as it was the Frenchman's 900th match in charge. However, the result on the day did not live up to the achievement, with the 3-3 draw meaning the north London side's quest for UEFA Champions League football next season will now have to be secured on the final matchday.
336 - Hertha Berlin utility man Levan Kobiashvili made his 336th German top-flight appearance at the weekend, drawing level with former Brazil midfielder Ze Roberto as the foreigner with the most Bundesliga games.
50 - FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi moved onto a stunning 50 goals for the Spanish league season with all four in Barcelona's 4-0 triumph against city rivals Espanyol. Even more impressively, the mercurial Argentinian now has an incredible 72 strikes from 58 matches this term.
31 - In Belgium, Anderlecht sealed a 31st championship with a 1-1 draw against their sole remaining rivals, second placed Bruges. Coach Ariel Jacobs’ side are now seven points clear with only two games to play.
Five memorable moments
A season to forget: Hamburg, the Bundesliga's only ever-present club, posted their worst-ever points total in 49 straight years in the German top flight. A 1-0 defeat away to Augsburg on the last day means the northerners finish on a miserable 36 points from their 34 matches.
Case of the blues for the Reds: Two weeks prior to the Champions League final, Chelsea warmed up in style with a trophy, defeating Liverpool 2-1 in the English FA Cup final to win the football world's oldest competition for the fourth time in the last six seasons
Woe de Cologne: Going into the last day in Germany, Cologne were 16th and headed for a relegation play-off, with a two-point gap back to Hertha Berlin in 17th. However, Cologne lost 4-1 at home to Bayern ,and Berlin beat Hoffenheim 3-1, meaning the fallen Rhineland giants join Kaiserslautern in the second division next term. The men from the capital now face Fortuna Dusseldorf in a last-ditch bid to preserve their top-flight status.
Much still to play for: The penultimate round of matches in Spain could have settled many outstanding issues at the top and bottom of the table, but in the event, plenty still has to be decided on the last day. Five teams remain in danger of relegation, with one Champions League berth and two UEFA Europa League spots also up for grabs.
Paris in spring to top spot: Seven of the ten matches on Matchday 36 in Ligue 1 are not scheduled until Monday evening, but Paris Saint-Germain seized the initiative on Sunday and moved back to the top of the standings, at least for 24 hours. PSG were two goals down away to Valenciennes, but fought back to win 4-3 and edge ahead of Montpellier on goal difference. The minnows from the south can reclaim top spot if they avoid defeat away to Rennes today.