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Chasing glory - How are the football title races shaping up around Europe?

Who’s starting to dream of silverware on the continent?

Real and Atletico Madrid are in the hunt for the league honours in Spain.
Real and Atletico Madrid are in the hunt for the league honours in Spain.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

CHELSEA AND CELTIC lead the way at the top of the league tables in England and Scotland at the moment but what’s the situation in the rest of the major leagues around Europe?

Austria

Red Bull Salzburg are running away with the Austrian Bundesliga and are on 64 points at present, with a 25-point cushion over their nearest rivals Grodig. With only ten games left, Salzburg look certain to win their fourth title in six years.

Belgium

Standard Liege enjoy a six-point advantage in the Pro League over Club Brugge with Anderlecht six points further back in third place. Standard Liege extended their lead with a 2-0 victory over Mechelen on Saturday. There’s only one round of regular games left before the Championship playoff stage.

Czech Republic

Sparta Prague are eight points clear with 11 games to go in the Czech Liga. They claimed a decisive victory yesterday with a 1-0 win at home to the reigning champions Viktoria Plzen, who are currently in second place. Tomas Prikryl struck the vital goal.

Denmark

Midtjylland are top of the table with 39 points, two clear of AaB, five clear of Kobenhavn and seven points ahead of Brondby.  Midtyjlland claimed an important 5-1 win away to Kobenhavn last week but there’s still 12 games to go.

France

With ten games to go, Paris Saint-Germain hold an eight-point advantage over Monaco at the top of the table. Lille are seven points further back in third place. But Paris Saint-Germain, who won 3-0 away to Bastia on Saturday, have only lost once all season and are on track to regain their crown.

France Soccer League One Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Source: Lionel Cironneau

Germany

Bayern Munich have destroyed the rest of the Bundesliga so far this season, winning 22 of their 24 games and currently enjoying a 20-point advantage over Borussia Dortmund. With 10 games to go, it looks like Pep Guardiola’s side will have the title wrapped up long before the finish if they maintain their current form.

Bayern Munich have a flawless record at home, winning every one of their 12 games to date, and they are looking to retain their league title this season.

Greece

They have lost their last two games to Panathinaikos and PAOK but Olympiakos are favourites for another Super League triumph. The defending champions are 16 points clear with six games to go in the regular season and then the playoffs will kick in.

Holland

Ajax have a six-point lead at the top of the Eredivisie with 58 points with seven games remaining. They drew 1-1 yesterday against Cambuur which allowed second-placed Vitesse Arnhem on 52 points, to close the gap after their 2-1 win over NAC Breda on Saturday.

Twente are third on 49 points, Feyenoord are fourth on 48 and PSV Eindhoven are fifth on 47. Ajax are at home to Twente on March 30th and then travel to play Vitesse on April 6th.

Italy

It’s looking like Juventus are on course for the Serie A crown after defeating Fiorentna 1-0 yesterday while second placed Roma lost to Napoli. Juventus are on 72 points with 11 games to go and are 14 points clear of Roma, who do have a game in hand.

The clubs are pencilled in to meet on May 11th. Juventus are seeking a third successive title while Roma last won in 2000-01. Napoli are in third place on 55 points.

Italy Soccer Serie A Arturo Vidal. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Portugal

Benfica are top with 55 points, seven clear of Sporting Lisbon with Porto back in third place on 46 points. Benfica have only lost once all season and extended their lead at the weekend with Sporting drawing 2-2 yesterday with Vitoria Setubal.

There are eight games remaining with Benfica travelling to play Porto on the last day of the season. There is also a vital game next weekend with Porto away to Sporting.

Spain

It’s shaping up to be an exciting run-in in Spain with 11 games to go. It’s a three-horse race with Real Madrid in front on 67 points ahead of Atletico Madrid on 64 points and Barcelona on 63 points. Real’s 3-0 win over Levante yesterday helped them create some daylight at the top after Barcelona lost 1-0 to Real Valladolid on Saturday.

Real Madrid entertain Barcelona in a crucial clash on March 23rd while on the last day of the season Barcelona are at home to Atletico. Barcelona are the reigning champions, Real Madrid won the league two years while Atletico last lifted the crown in 1995-96.

Spain Soccer La Liga Lionel Messi. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Switzerland

There’s 12 games left in the Super League with Basel enjoying a five-point lead over Grasshopper, Young Boys and Zurich who are all tied in second place. Basel dropped points at the weekend with a 1-1 draw against St Gallen. The league leaders are aiming for a fifth successive league title this year.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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