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Friday, May 24, 2024

Four things to look out for in Europe’s top leagues this weekend

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Some of Europe’s biggest leagues reach their conclusion this weekend with the Premier League, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 all set for their final round of games.

Ahead of the action, we’ve picked out four things to look out for across Europe’s top leagues this weekend.

Can Leverkusen become Invincible?

One game from greatness. The current Bayer Leverkusen team have cemented their place in the club’s history after winning the Bundesliga for the first time this season. However, Xabi Alonso’s side has one hurdle left to jump to write themselves into football folklore.

Leverkusen have not lost in 50 games across all competitions this season, already a record since the advent of UEFA competitions to the calendar.

No team has ever completed a Bundesliga season without defeat, with the only German side to have done so Berliner FC Dynamo in the 1982–83 DDR-Oberliga, the first tier of football in East Germany when the nation was divided into separate states.

Bayer Leverkusen reach 50 games unbeaten 🇩🇪👑🎆

𝐔𝐧𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥. pic.twitter.com/fSac72aABG

— LiveScore (@livescore) May 12, 2024

Just two teams, Arsenal (2003/04) and Juventus (2011/12) have done so in one of Europe’s top five leagues this century, evidence of the magnitude of what Leverkusen could achieve. Bayern Munich, for all their domestic dominance, have never gone undefeated.

If Leverkusen can avoid defeat to Augsburg this weekend, Die Werkself will become immortal.

Five Bundesliga players who will be in demand this summer

Mbappe bids farewell to Ligue 1

Kylian Mbappe will take to the pitch as a Ligue 1 player for perhaps the final time this weekend as Paris Saint-Germain curtail their season against Metz. The 25-year-old has confirmed his decision to leave PSG when his contract expires and is expected to announce a transfer to Real Madrid imminently.

He will leave French football as the seventh-highest scorer in Ligue 1 history, having netted 191 times in 246 appearances for AS Monaco and PSG. The latter’s record scorer, he was this week named Ligue 1’s Player of the Season for a record-extending fifth time, while he is eight goals clear of nearest challenger Jonathan David and set to collect the division’s leading scorer accolade for a sixth time.

🥹👋 It’s Kylian Mbappé’s last ever PSG home game. The fans have created a tifo for him to say goodbye! ❤️💙 pic.twitter.com/LeoqusenOj

— EuroFoot (@eurofootcom) May 12, 2024

While PSG’s failure to end their wait for Champions League success will be viewed as a slight on his time in Paris, Mbappe has achieved extraordinary things in Ligue 1 and proven to be a cut above French football.

A greater domestic stage awaits.

Kane closes in on European Golden Shoe

Harry Kane signed for Bayern Munich last summer in search of the silverware that eluded him during his time at Tottenham. While it hasn’t proven to be successful in terms of team honours, the England captain has broken records and enhanced his reputation as one of the finest finishers of his generation.

Kane has scored 44 goals in all competitions, the best return of his career, with 36 of those coming in the Bundesliga. Just two players, Robert Lewandowski (2020/21) and Gerd Muller (1969/70 and 1971/72) have ever scored more goals in a Bundesliga season.

The 30-year-old is nine clear of nearest challengers Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe in the race for the European Golden Shoe and while his victory cannot be confirmed this weekend, given Serie A and La Liga do not conclude, he is almost certain to claim the award.

Kane will become just the second Englishman ever to win the Golden Shoe, after Sunderland’s Kevin Phillips in 1999/2000.

Premier League title race goes down to the wire

English football is the only top league whose title race is yet to be settled heading into the final fixtures.

Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Inter Milan and PSG have all celebrated title success, though the Premier League will go down to the wire this weekend.

Manchester City are in the box seat and can make history with a win over West Ham at the Etihad. Pep Guardiola’s side will become the first team in English football history to win four consecutive league titles, while it will be six of the last seven if three points are secured against the Hammers.

Pep Guardiola’s reaction when Manuel Akanji gave the ball away and Stefan Ortega made THAT late save to deny Son Heung-min!

A moment that could be so crucial in this Premier League title race! pic.twitter.com/ThoqztYywO

— Premier League (@premierleague) May 14, 2024

However, any slip could allow Arsenal to capitalise. Two points behind but with a better goal difference, the Gunners will be champions for the first time in 20 years if they win and City fail to do so.

Grab the popcorn.

Read – Premier League: Our non-Big Six end-of-season awards

See more – The most Premier League goals scored for Chelsea in a single season

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