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European Football Betting Weekend Review: 26-28 April



It’s been another busy weekend of European football, so here’s a recap of all the results, stories and talking points from La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.

La Liga

It was a thrilling La Liga weekend, with more still to come, although all the big issues may now be sorted with five games remaining.

One fixture that once again proved inconclusive was Sunday night’s el Gran Derby, with Sevilla coming from a goal down to hold fierce rivals Real Betis to a 1-1 draw at Estadio Benito Villamarín.

Isco broke the deadlock from the penalty spot, after Dodi Lukébakio had been penalised for a ridiculous, borderline scandalous, handball, before Kike Salas equalised for los Nervionenses soon after half time.

So, the last four Derbi Sevillano fixtures have all resulted in draws, the joint-longest sequence of stalemates in the 96-year history of this rivalry, also occurring between 2000 and 2002.

Quique Sánchez Flores’ side have very little tangible to play for, but the point leaves Manuel Pellegrini’s side seventh, in danger of joining their city rivals in missing out on European qualification.

At the top, Real Madrid moved three points closer to the title on Friday night, with Arda Güler the only scorer as los Blancos beat Real Sociedad 1-0 at Anoeta.

Los Merengues mustered just five shots in San Sebastián, the joint-fewest they’ve managed during a La Liga victory since records began, also having five during a 1-0 win over Huesca at El Alcoraz six years ago.

So, as Carlo Ancelotti’s team prepare for Tuesday’s Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich, they require only four more points from their remaining five fixtures to rubber stamp the La Liga title.

Real Madrid could win the league by beating Cádiz next Saturday, if Barcelona fail to beat Valencia at Montjuïc on Monday night, which is tonight at time of writing.

While there’s no title race, the battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League appears over too, after Atlético Madrid opened up a six-point gap on Athletic Club by beating them 3-1 on Saturday night.

Rodrigo De Paul, Ángel Correa and an Unai Simón own goal securing the points for Atleti, although the match was overshadowed by racist abuse hurled towards Nico Williams, pointing to his arm when scoring soon after.

This seems to be happening week after week after week in La Liga, with nothing ever done about it.

On the field, this was los Colchoneros’ 22nd home win of the season in all competitions, now just one short the club-record set ten years ago, with Diego Simeone’s side set to once again get into the Champions League.

On the flip side, despite their recent drop-off, it’s still been an historic campaign for Ernesto Valverde’s side, capturing Athletic’s first Copa del Rey for 40 years, while Athletic will feature in the Europa League, with European football back in Bilbao for the first time in six seasons.

One club who will be debuting in the Champions League come September are Girona, ending their streak of five successive away defeats by beating Las Palmas 2-0 on Saturday.

Míchel’s men thereby moved up to second above Barcelona, even if only temporarily, with the pair set to clash at Montilivi in a Catalan derby this forthcoming Saturday evening.

To put Girona’s achievement into context, they’re the first top-flight Spanish side, excluding Barça, Real or Atleti, to reach 71 points after 33 matches in the three-points-for-a-win era.

In the race for Europe, after neither Real Sociedad nor Real Betis won this weekend, there is hope for others hoping to gatecrash the top seven.

Villarreal are the most-likely to do so, having won six of their last eight, most-recently beating Rayo Vallecano 3-0 on Sunday, with Alexander Sørloth’s brace taking his tally to 20 for the campaign in all competitions.

In the relegation battle, Alavés appeared to be in serious trouble not so long ago, but back-to-back home wins have sky-rocketed Luis García Plaza’s team up to 12th.

Having beaten Atleti 2-0, los Blanquiazules then hammered Celta Vigo 3-0 on Saturday, recording the club’s joint-record biggest top-flight win of all-time.

Almería’s relegation was confirmed this weekend, after Pep Mel’s team were beaten 3-1 by Getafe, although, considering los Rojiblancos have won only one game all season, this wasn’t surprising news.

Despite hammering Osasuna 3-0, Granada appear doomed too, now ten points from safety, with a third Andalusian club set to join them in the Segunda División, as Cádiz complete the bottom three.

El Submarino Amarillo could only draw 1-1 with Mallorca at Nuevo Mirandilla, so are still five points from safety, with a trip to the Bernabéu up next for Mauricio Pellegrino’s team.



Real Madrid to win the Champions League

UEFA Champions League

Serie A

It was celebration Sunday for Interisti all around the world, with Internazionale having a parade through Milan city centre following Sunday’s 2-0 win over Torino.

An historic 20th Scudetto had already been confirmed thanks to victory over AC Milan on Monday, with Hakan Çalhanoğlu enjoying his weekend more than most, scoring both goals before celebrating a maiden Serie A title.

Elsewhere, Saturday’s big game between Juventus and AC Milan ended as a dire goalless draw in Turin.

Both will qualify for next season’s Champions League, I Rossoneri having mathematically done so, both will change manager this summer and both frankly can’t wait for this current season to come to an end.

In contrast, Sunday’s headliner did not disappoint, as Napoli and Roma drew 2-2 in the Derby del Sole.

Victor Osimhen thought he’d snatched victory with a late penalty, only for Tammy Abraham to salvage a draw in the final minute of regulation time.

I Partenopei, who currently occupy the Conference League spot, have finally reached 50 points this season, doing so a flabbergasting 15 matches slower than the previous campaign when they ran away with the title.

Meanwhile, I Giallorossi are just about clinging onto the fifth Champions League position, while Daniele De Rossi’s side also have a Europa League semi-final against Bayer Leverkusen to look forward to.

The side seeking to pip Roma to fifth are Atalanta, who moved just two points behind by beating Empoli 2-0, thanks to goals from Mario Pašalić and then Ademola Lookman at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia.

An all-Italian Europa League Final could be on the cards in Dublin, with la Dea taking on Olympique de Marseille in the first leg of their semi at Stade Vélodrome on Thursday.

The only member of the top six we’re yet to mention are Bologna, who were unable to pull further ahead this weekend, held to a 1-1 draw by Udinese at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.

Thiago Motta’s team had beaten Roma 3-1 the previous Monday evening, so I Rossoblù remain fourth, six points clear of sixth, looking to increase this gap when they visit Torino on Friday.

Lazio made it three wins on the spin, and five wins out of six, beating beating Hellas Verona 1-0 on Saturday night, Mattia Zaccagni the only scorer, so can I Biancocelesti make a late surge into the top five, now just four points adrift their city rivals?

At the bottom, Sassuolo’s 5-1 hammering at Fiorentina may condemn them to relegation, with I Neroverdi now five points from safety with four games left to play.

The aforementioned Udinese earned a credible draw with Bologna, but Fabio Cannavaro’s new team still slipped into the drop zone, after Frosinone hammered Salernitana 3-0 on Friday night, a defeat that confirmed I Granata’s relegation.

Just three points seperate 14th-placed Cagliari, who visit Genoa on Monday, and 18th-placed Udinese, so this relegation battle is likely to go down to the wire.



Atalanta to meet Roma in the Europa League Final

UEFA Europa League


Bayer Leverkusen simply cannot be beaten, now just seven matches away from completing an unfathomable undefeated season.

Since securing a first-ever Bundesliga title by hammering Werder Bremen 5-0 a fortnight ago, die Werkself have preserved their unbeaten streak by scoring stoppage time equalisers in both games.

This weekend, Xabi Alonso’s side found themselves 2-0 down at home to high-flying Stuttgart on the hour mark, seemingly set to suffer a first defeat of the campaign.

Amine Adli did half the deficit before, in the 96th minute, Robert Andrich lashed home an equaliser that sparked wild celebrations all around BayArena.

This is the 13th outcome-altering goal Bayer have scored in the 89th minute of later this season.

So, having played 46 matches in all competitions, die Schwarzroten are still yet to be beaten, putting that record on the line when they take on Roma in the Europa League semi-finals at Stadio Olimpico on Thursday.

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich warmed up for their Champions League clash with Real Madrid by beating Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1, with Harry Kane the scorer of both at Allianz Arena.

Kane has scored against 16 of the 17 Bundesliga opponents he’s faced this season, a joint-single season record, alongside Gerd Müller and Robert Lewandowski; Freiburg the only team he’s failed to net against.

The aforementioned Stuttgart and RB Leipzig complete the top four, after the latter fought back from a goal down to smash Borussia Dortmund 4-1 at Red Bull Arena.

Loïs Openda, Benjamin Šeško, Mohamed Simakan and Christoph Baumgartner all on target, meaning Marco Rose’s side have yielded 22 points from the last 24 available.

Beaten Borussia Dortmund, who face PSG on Wednesday, are relieved that the Bundesliga will be awarded a bonus Champions League place, with die Schwarzgelben’s poor form leaving them stranded in fifth.

At the bottom, Darmstadt’s relegation was confirmed, after they were beaten 1-0 by Heidenheim on Sunday night, with Nikola Dovedan the scorer of a stoppage time winner at Stadion am Böllenfalltor.

Mainz and Köln, the other members of the bottom three, also clashed on Sunday, with the result plunging both closer to next season’s Zweite Bundesliga.

Leandro Barreiro’s opener had die Nullfünfer on course for three precious points, only for Florian Kainz’s stoppage time penalty to pinch a point for die Geißböcke, that isn’t particularly helpful for either.

As a result, Timo Schultz’s side are seven points from safety with three games remaining, meaning Köln’s relegation could be confirmed next weekend, realistically needing to beat Freiburg on Saturday evening.

Mainz do have more hope, currently in the relegation play-off place, with Bo Henriksen’s team now below Bochum after they beat Hoffenheim 3-2 in a Friday night thriller.

Neither Union Berlin nor Borussia Mönchengladbach are safe either, after they drew 0-0 at Borussia-Park.

Currently, Fortuna Düsseldorf sit third in the 2.Bundesliga and, given that they are Köln’s fiercest rivals, many neutrals would love to see a Rhineland derby in the relegationsspiele, but this isn’t on the cards right now.



Bayer Leverkusen to win the Europa League

UEFA Europa League

Ligue 1

To the surprise of many, Paris Saint-Germain were crowned Ligue 1 champions this weekend, picking up their tenth title in 12 seasons, having only been French champions twice prior to the Qatari takeover.

With the Champions League semi-final against Borussia Dortmund at the forefront of his mind, Luis Enrique rotated heavily for Le Havre’s visit on Saturday night, at it nearly had embarrassing consequences.

Les Rouges-et-Bleus were 3-1 down against the newly-promoted club after an hour, requiring late goals from Achraf Hakimi and then Gonçalo Ramos, the latter in the 95th minute, to salvage a draw.

PSG’s title was then secured the following night when Monaco were beaten at Parc Olympique Lyonnais, a result that really shakes up the most-interesting section of the table, the race for Europe.

More on that shortly, but first we must mention the game of the weekend, anywhere in the world, as Brest beat Rennes 5-4 in Brittany, with Lilian Brassier’s 97th minute goal securing the more extraordinary of victories.

This goal means Brest have mathematically qualified for Europe for the very first time, set to become the 36th French club to compete in UEFA competition and the first debutants since LB Châteauroux, who did so as a second-tier club, 20 years ago.

Les Pirates remain third, despite losing back-to-back games prior to the weekend, so are currently set to qualify for the Champions League, although this area of the table is very tight.

In all, every single top-flight French side scored this weekend, the first time that’s happened since 1976.

Another high-scoring game, that we’ve already alluded to, was Lyon’s 3-2 win over Monaco, in which Malick Fofana was the late match-winner.

Pierre Sage’s side have won nine of their last 12, but a catastrophic first half of the campaign leaves les Gones just below the European positions.

One place above are Olympique Marseille, following their win over Lens on Sunday night, a massive confidence boost for Jean-Louis Gasset’s team who will take on Atalanta in the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday.

Elsewhere, both Nice and Lille enjoyed away wins so, with three games remaining, 11 clubs are still in contention to qualify for seven European positions, a record number.

At the bottom, Clermont Foot have breathed new life into their survival bid by battering Reims 4-1 at Stade Gabriel-Montpied, with both Muhammed Cham and Elbasan Rashani bagging braces.

Les Lanciers do remain at the foot of the table, but are just a point below Lorient and four adrift Metz, who currently occupy the relegation play-off spot, after both were beaten this weekend.

Le Havre’s point in Paris is keeping them above the dreaded dotted line, while Nantes’ 1-1 draw at Montpellier on Friday has edged Antoine Kombouaré’s team slightly closer to safety.



Paris Saint-Germain to win the Champions League

UEFA Champions League

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