Barca bottlers, Bayern Champions? The winners & losers from across Europe

With two very respectable away draws for the two English clubs left in European competition last week, Euro Roundup finds itself eating its words somewhat this week. Liverpool and Manchester City went to the lairs of two on-form European behemoths where very few visitors have left alive. And both came away with their pride intact and their hopes of progression alive.

What’s more, with no Italian teams left in Europe at the quarter final stage, progression for one or both of the English clubs would take advantage of Italian failure and create a bit of breathing space in the coefficient table. And with the arrival of Conte, Pellegrini et al to the Premier League, it might just signal a revival of English fortunes in Europe.

This week’s Euro Roundup doesn’t care what the suave continental TV pundits think, Andy Carroll can be England’s main man at Euros 2016!

Germany

The title race looks all but over now. It looked over last week too, mind. Bayern Munich just didn’t look like the kind of team who would drop six points in the run in, but Borussia Dortmund’s pulsating 2-2 draw with big rivals Schalke this weekend seems to confirm Bayern’s place as top dogs.

Then we all knew that. Perhaps the bigger thing to take from that result was a good point for Schalke in their fight for the Champions League spots.

Hertha Berlin are, inexplicably, still in third place. They drew 2-2 with fully doomed Hannover on Friday night, after their heavy defeat to Gladbach last week, but that point was enough to keep them one point ahead of Leverkusen, and four points clear of dropping out of the Champions League spots altogether.

Leverkusen, meanwhile, beat Cologne to take advantage of the woeful form of those around them. Leverkusen were the only, I repeat ONLY, team from 2nd-8th to win a game this weekend.

At the bottom, it’s still mercilessly tight – apart from Hannover, it’s a pile-up as 17-12th are separated by six points. Anyone could go down.

Winners: Bayer Leverkusen, whose win really helped them out in their chase for the Champions League

Losers: Borussia Monchengladbach, whose defeat this weekend undoes the great work they did last week thrashing Hertha in their race for the top four.

Italy

This week’s action from Serie A really just left us as we were before: all the big players managed wins, all the relegation fodder succumbed to defeats. Exactly what you’d expect. Which was, itself, unexpected…

Juventus remain six points clear of Napoli after finding a way past Milan, whilst Napoli adapted to life without Gonzalo Higuain with a 3-0 victory over doomed Hellas Verona.

Carpi, Palermo and Frosinone all succumbed to defeats, meaning the battle to avoid Serie A doom rages on – any two from those three will surely drop.

Elsewhere, Empoli’s Piotr Zielinski was the subject of a bizarre ban this week, as his goal celebration went a little too far:

It’s nice to see Italian referees sticking so rigidly to the rules, as Italians are known to do.

Winners: Juventus, who keep striding in that inexorable march to yet another league title.

Losers: Everyone below Sampdoria in 15th place, who all lost, and consequently all have a game fewer in which to save their Serie A skins.

France

The race for the Champions League is about the closest to a title race that Ligue 1 has to offer. In fact, given that the title race has already officially ended, we’re actually being treated to quite a good race for second. There’s big prize to be had there, too – namely, not having to go through the playoff round for the Champions League.

That doesn’t sound like much, but the third-placed French club have failed to progress to the group stages in each of the last three seasons.

This season, Lyon, Monaco and Nice are battling it out, with St Etienne and Rennes in close-ish pursuit. Whereas Monaco looked to have wrapped up that second spot only a few weeks ago, they now find themselves in third behind Lyon, and only two points away from falling out of the Champions League spots altogether!

A Hatem Ben Arfa hat trick saw Nice take advantage of Monaco’s 4-0 defeat at Lille to take them only two points behind Monaco, whilst Lyon have hit form at the right time, having lost just one league game since 30th January.

PSG warmed up nicely for Manchester City on Tuesday night with a nice 2-0 victory over Guingamp in an otherwise meaningless game, Meanwhile, Marseille once again fired a blank, this time drawing 0-0 against Bordeaux on Sunday night, remaining only six points above the doomed spots.

Toulouse managed yet another win – three in their last four – bringing themselves within touching distance of a great escape. When Pascal Dupraz took over at the club they were eight points from safety. Now they’re only four back and looking like they could do it, with Lorient, Angers and Troyes still to play, staying up now looks possible.

Winners: Lyon, whose win, coupled with Monaco’s big defeat brings them into second place

Losers: Rennes, whose defeat against Nice sets them back in their race for the Champions League.

Spain

Is it back on? Hailed over the past few weeks as perhaps the most formidable team ever assembled, Barcelona have started to wobble. They’ve started to teeter, as a matter of fact.

Having lost in the Clasico last weekend, they only just overcame a compact 10-man Atletico Madrid to take a slender lead to the Calderon on Wednesday in the Champions League. And this weekend, another defeat will give Atleti some hope of not only progressing in the Champions League, but of catching the Catalans in La Liga too.

Barcelona’s domination didn’t lead to goals, and they haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last five games. And that, ladies and gentlemen, leads to defeat. And that’s back to back league defeats for the first time since November 2014. Their saviours this season might be their superior head to head records on the Madrid clubs.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid and Atletico made a terrible weekend something approaching a catastrophe for Barcelona. Both teams won and won big. It still amazes me just how well Atletico Madrid are doing to keep the pace with the Clasico giants.

Elsewhere, it’s as you were at the very bottom, Levante are cut adrift and look doomed. Defeats for Getafe and Sporting Gijon leave them in danger of all out doom in a few weeks time.

And finally a word on The Club Formerly Known As Gary Neville’s Valencia, they enjoyed a huge win this weekend against Sevilla, easing their own fears of impending doom.

Winners: Atletico Madrid, who are still alive in the title race and have reason to believe they can overcome Barcelona in the Champions League too.

Losers: Barcelona, whose recent wobble may be starting to worry those in the corridors of power.