How are Europe's big league title battles shaping up?

We're reaching the crunch point of the seasons

BY Raf Diallo 15:54 Monday 8 May 2017, 15:54 8 May 2017

Leo Messi and Neymar Jr. celebration during the match between FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF, on May 06, 2017. NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

In the League of Ireland, Cork City and co are just 12 rounds of action into the 2017 Premier Division season, yet the race for the title already looks all but over.

John Caulfield's side are already 14 points clear of nearest challengers Bray Wanderers and 15 ahead of the Dundalk side that have thwarted them in the league for the three previous seasons.

Meanwhile, Chelsea can move within a victory of sealing the English Premier League should they see off Middlesbrough at home.

Over in Scotland, the title race is long over with Celtic champions and still en route for an unbeaten season.

But how is the balance of power on the continent as we enter the final month of the European season?

La Liga

Lionel Messi's famous winner two weeks ago at the Santiago Bernabeu kept the Spanish title race alive and since then both Barcelona and Real Madrid have overcome their respective fixture challenges.

Barca top the table, level on points with Real but the latter have a game in hand which gives them an advantage.

However, should Real lose their game in hand, the head to head record is in Barca's favour so a slip up for Zinedine Zidane's side would end their hopes of ending a five year title drought should Barca win their remaining games.

Barca a trip to Las Palmas on May 14th, while they finish their season a week later on May 21st at home to Eibar and you would fancy them to pick up six points from six.

Meanwhile, Real have Sevilla (home), Celta Vigo (away) and Malaga (away) remaining, which they must balance with the distraction of a likely Champions League final.

The race for the remaining Champions League places appears over with Atletico Madrid within a point of sealing third place and Sevilla, similarly, are on the verge of making sure of fourth spot with Villarreal six points behind and their head to head record standing at 0-0 over two legs.

Bundesliga

Bayern Munich have already sealed the German league title once again but behind them RB Leipzig are almost certain of finishing second.

The side which is the most disliked by fans of other German clubs is already assured of an automatic Champions League place but can guarantee second with a point from their final two games.

Borussia Dortmund are six points behind them with two games to go, two points clear of TSG Hoffenheim who they defeated in a head to head at the weekend. 

As it stands, Hoffenheim  go into the Champions League playoff and cannot fall lower than their current fourth position as they hold an 11 point advantage over fifth.

Serie A

Juventus are not yet assured of winning the Scudetto yet again but are seven points clear of AS Roma with three fixtures to go - including one head to head in Rome next Sunday night.

Napoli are also not ruled out automatically yet, sitting one point behind Roma.

Even if Juve lose at Roma, they have Crotone (home) and Bologna (away) to get over the line and who would bet against them?

Roma and Napoli are virtually assured of finishing in the Top 3 to seal Champions League football as Lazio are seven points behind the latter with just nine points available.

However, Roma will be looking to finish ahead of Napoli in order to seal the automatic place in Europe's elite competition, with third offering a spot in the qualifiers.  

Monaco's Kylian Mbappe

Ligue 1

Monaco are oh so close to ending Paris Saint Germain's long run of titles and ending their own 17 year Ligue 1 drought.

PSG have two games left and sit second, three points behind a Monaco side with a game in hand. Monaco take on Lille on Sunday, while PSG visit Saint Etienne.

Even if Monaco were to lose and PSG were to win on that matchday, Monaco would still lead the table on goal difference before their game in hand against Saint Etienne which would put them three points clear with one matchday to go should they win that fixture.

Given the 18-goal goal difference between themselves and PSG, Monaco are in an enviable position. Thus one more win from their final three games should be just about enough for Leonardo Jardim's side provided there is no wild swing in goal difference.

Nice can no longer finish in the Top 2 after losing at the weekend but are guaranteed third place and the final Champions League playoff place.

Eredivisie

Feyenoord probably expected to clinch their first Dutch league title in 18 years at the weekend but ended up losing 3-0 at Excelsior, their fellow Rotterdammers.

Coupled with rivals Ajax winning their own game, Feyenoord's lead at the top has been cut to just one point ahead of the final round of fixtures.

There is no margin for error. Feyenoord will definitely win the league next weekend if they beat 9th place Heracles Almelo next Sunday regardless of Ajax's result against Willem II.

But should Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side lose or draw, and Ajax win their game, then the Amsterdam giants will overtake Feyenoord, adding more fuel to the Der Klassiker rivalry.

Primeira Liga

Benfica are on the verge of winning their fourth Portuguese title in a row with a five point advantage over FC Porto with only two rounds of games to go.

Beat one of Vitoria Guimaraes or Boavista in their final two games and the title is theirs.

Sporting Lisbon meanwhile are almost certainly guaranteed third with the same points situation over Vitoria as city rivals Benfica hold over Porto. 

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