European Football Roundup 16/6/2020

The nails are nearly all in Paderborn’s coffin after a 4-1 loss to Bremen left them all but down. This put 17th placed Werder level on points with Dusseldorf, who suffered stoppage time Haland heartache in the form of a deft header, showing the big Norwegian is not just power and pace. The result keeps the title mathematically open, although there will be no catching Bayern after their own late winner at home to Gladbach. Leipzig are looking certain for Champions League football following their triumph in the battle of the “plastics”. Union will almost certainly remain a Bundesliga side thanks to victory in Cologne, and the same applies to Augsburg, who won away at Mainz; the carnival side remains at risk. Elsewhere, Hertha’s revival seems to be over as they were ripped apart by Eintracht at home, Wolfsburg are odds on for Europa League football despite Freiburg coming back from two goals down in their meeting, and Schalke seem to be turning a corner after a point against Bayer. The DFB Pokal final will be between Bayern, who edged out Frankfurt 2-1 midweek, and Bayer, who ended the fairy-tale run of fourth-tier Saarbrucken, which sadly had to take place in an empty stadium. (TABLE)

Barca and Real both had comfortable restarts seeing off Mallorca and Eibar with minimum fuss, while Sevilla consolidated their grip on third with a comfortable win in El Gran Derbi. Fourth-placed Sociedad dropped 2 points at home to Osasuna, as Getafe’s Champions League ambitions were dented after their keeper had a nightmare at Los Carmenes. Atletico had to settle for a point in Bilbao, and there was late drama as a stoppage time penalty salvaged a point for Levante at Mestalla in the third city derby. At the bottom, Celta got back into their nasty habit of conceding late goals losing 1-0 to Villarreal, and Leganes were beaten at home by Valladolid. All this was music to Espanyol’s ears, who closed the gap on their nearest rivals by three points thanks to the Eibar keeper’s brain fade that left his team reduced to ten men early on. (TABLE)

The Coppa Italia semi-final second legs were played at the weekend. Juventus squeezed past Roma on away goals as their meeting in Turin ended goalless. The match’s key passage of play happened early on and saw Ronaldo miss a penalty, only for Anton Rebic to put his studs into Danilo’s chest moments later reducing Roma to ten men for most of the contest. In the other semi-final, a David Ospina pass set Insigne off on a run, leaving Inter goal-scorer Christian Eriksen in his wake, before squaring for Dries Mertens to become Napoli’s all-time record goal-scorer. The Belgian moved past Marek Hamsik to claim the pedestal all to himself on 122. Napoli will face the Old Lady in the final tomorrow. (TABLE)

Marcus Rashford’s efforts to secure lunches for out-of-school British children living in poverty over the summer holidays is a shining example of how a sportsperson can use their influence and their own experience growing up to do good. A massive well done to him! On the pitch, Liverpool have a rather comfortable 25 point cushion at the top of the table and could wrap up the title as early as this weekend’s Merseyside derby. Man City and Leicester look nailed on for the Champions League, but Chelsea (fresh from their coup of attracting Timo Werner to join) still have some work to do to fend off Man U, Wolves and Sheffield United for the lucrative final spot. Arsenal and Spurs look less likely to close the gap and will probably need to settle for the Europa at best. The bottom six are all in real danger of relegation, particularly the Canaries, but the Saints and Magpies would prefer to pick up the 4-6 points they’ll need to ensure safety sooner rather than later. (TABLE)

League finished. Winners: PSG / Champions League: Marseille, Rennes / Europa League: Lille, Nice, Reims / Relegated: Amiens, Toulouse / Promoted: Lens, Lorient / Legal Action: Lyon, Amiens (TABLE)

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