Football

Who’ll be in the Champions League next season?

Napoli's defeat against Bologna could prove disastrous (©GettyImages)
Napoli's defeat against Bologna could prove disastrous (©GettyImages).

The race for a top four spot in the Premier League has been making waves all season on these shores as the likes of Chelsea, Newcastle, Tottenham and Arsenal battle it out for the right to play Champions League football this season.

Europe’s biggest club competition has turned the race for fourth place into a major part of the Premier League season – Arsene Wenger even likened securing a top four berth to winning a trophy back in February.

So with the race for two spots amongst European football’s elite still up for grabs in England, what is happening across the continent - and who are the teams those from the Premier League will be pitting their wits against next season?

La Liga, Spain – Top four qualify


As ever Real Madrid and Barcelona as streets ahead of their rivals in Spain, with 29 points separating 2nd place Barca from La Liga’s unofficial 3rd team, Valencia.

Unai Emery’s last act as Valencia coach before departing after 4 years in charge at the end of the season was to guide Los Che to Champions League qualification, with victory against Villarreal last weekend taking advantage of Malaga’s slip up against Atletico Madrid to confirm their position as the 3rd automatic qualifiers for the Champions League.

Four teams are still in the hunt for the fourth and final qualifying spot with one game remaining, with just three points separating Malaga in 4th from Mallorca in 7th.

Levante, (6th, 52 pts) face the tough task of hosting Athletic Bilbao, although Marcelo Bielsa’s men’s usual enthusiasm may be blunted by their mid-week exertions in the Europa League final against Atletico, (5th, 53 pts) who must muster two big performances as they play Villarreal four days after their showdown in Bucharest. Atletico have the best goal difference of all four teams in the hunt for fourth place.

Malaga (4th, 55 pts) know that a victory against Sporting Gijon would mean all the permutations are made redundant as three points would guarantee them 4th and a return on their summer spending spree, while Mallorca (7th 52 pts) are at the opposite end of the scale and must hope Malaga lose and the other teams above them slip up in order to achieve Champions League qualification.

Serie A, Italy - Top three qualify


While Juventus put an emphatic end to the title race by claiming their first league crown since 2003 with victory over Cagliari last weekend as AC Milan suffered the double embarrassment of missing out on the title and losing to fierce rivals Inter in one fell swoop, the race for Champions League qualification in Italy is going right down to the wire.

Napoli (5th, 58 pts) suffered a disastrous defeat against Bologna last weekend to send them tumbling out of the top three with one game remaining, which could have disastrous consequences for manager Walter Mazzarri in terms of keeping hold of his big name players in the summer.

Udinese (3rd, 61 pts) were on hand to take advantage of their rivals slip up as they recorded a vital 2-0 win over Genoa which leaves them just one win away in their last game against Catania from being in a position to avenge their Champions League qualifier defeat against Arsenal last year.

In the mix between both Udinese and Napoli is Lazio, who sit two points off the Bianconeri in 4th place.

They face a huge last game against Inter but they must hope that Udinese lose because a draw in their rivals game against Catania is unlikely to be enough because of their superior goal difference. Napoli play Siena knowing that only defeat for Udinese would give them a chance of qualifying.

Ligue 1, France - Top three qualify


All three Champions League qualifiers from France have been confirmed, with Lille, Paris Saint-Germain and Montpellier all in a three way tussle for the title and 4th placed Lyon 11 points adrift of that battle.

Lille as it stands would to into the Champions League qualifying stage with two points separating them from PSG in second with two games to go, while leaders Montpellier are a further three points ahead.

Bundesliga, Germany - Top three qualify


The Bundesliga season is all over bar the shouting with Hertha Berlin the only team who can do something about their current predicament as they prepare for their relegation play-off showdown against Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Borussia Dortmund, league champions this season secured their spot in the Champions League long ago alongside Bayern Munich, who are preparing for their final showdown later this month, Schalke who claimed the 3rd and final automatic spot and Borussia M’Gladbach have claimed a place in the Champions League qualifiers.

The rest of Europe


In the Netherlands, Ajax have qualified for the Champions League as champions alongside Eredivisie runners up Feyenoord. Portugal’s two automatic representatives in the competition will be Porto and Benfica while Braga will go into the qualifiers after securing third place in the Primeira Liga. Galatasaray and Fenerbahce have qualified for the Champions League and Champions League qualifiers respectively via their final Super Lig positions.

Topics:
Football
UEFA Champions League

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