The unique pressure of a title race can have a different impact on teams. Some thrive and elevate their game, while others wilt.
In the Premier League, the top two are excelling, and they both have intriguing tests to overcome in their penultimate matches of the top-flight season. In the Bundesliga, both title chasers slipped up last weekend, although it’s still all to play for at the top.
Elsewhere, there are matches that’ll influence the Champions League places in Germany and Italy.
All kick-offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Juventus vs. Torino
Friday, May 3, 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+ (7-day free trial)
In recent years, the Derby della Mole has been more significant for Juventus, as they’ve chased titles and dominated their Turin rivals. It’s Torino who head into this fixture with plenty to play for though.
They have put together an excellent late run in the campaign and are now within touching distance of the top four. Walter Mazzarri’s side go into this game in seventh, but just three points back on Atalanta who occupy fourth.
For Torino, it’s six games without defeat, and their 2-0 win over AC Milan last weekend means they should be taken seriously in this tight battle for top four. Going away to Juventus and taking a positive result from the game would only emphasise their credentials further, although they’ve only beaten the Bianconeri once in 24 years.
Juventus have already sewn up the title, but showed they are still taking matters seriously with a battling draw at Inter Milan last weekend. The chance to put the brakes on their rivals’ chase for European football will serve as incentive here.
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund
When Borussia Dortmund imploded against rivals Schalke last weekend, it did appear as though the Bundesliga title race was over. However, Bayern Munich were only able to draw against Nuremberg on Sunday, keeping the gap to just two points.
Bayern are in action earlier on in the day and could extend their lead to five points with a win over Hannover 96. However, with some tough games yet to come for the Munich giants, Dortmund will know it’s imperative they keep in touch when they visit Werder Bremen in Saturday’s late game.
It will be intriguing to see what kind of mindset Dortmund are in after the 4-2 loss at home to Schalke. In addition, they will be without attacking talisman Marco Reus and Marius Wolf, who were both issued with red cards in the defeat to Schalke.
Dortmund are a long way short of the standards they were setting earlier in the campaign. But manager Lucien Favre will be desperate to see them cling on to Bayern this weekend in the hope they can capitalize later in the campaign, when the Munich club have RB Leipzig and Frankfurt to play.
Newcastle United vs. Liverpool
Following on from their 3-0 humbling at the hands of Barcelona in the Champions League in midweek, Liverpool’s focus turns to the Premier League again on Saturday.
Newcastle are unlikely to make the match an easy one for the Reds either. While the Magpies have nothing to play for, they are finishing the season strongly and are defensively sound enough to frustrate the best sides in the division. Ayoze Perez is a man in form too, with five goals in his last three games.
Liverpool’s mentality will be fascinating coming into this game. They may have been on the end of a heavy loss at the Camp Nou, but they played well for long spells of the match without getting a crucial goal. That is surely something manager Jurgen Klopp will seek to emphasize.
Newcastle were the last team to beat Liverpool’s title rivals Manchester City in the Premier League and they will be desperate to land another blow to one of the divisions big two. If they can somehow spring a surprise and take all three points, City will have the chance to win the title against Leicester on Monday.
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
The scrap for the fourth Champions League spot in Germany is almost as gripping as the battle for the title. Leverkusen and Frankfurt are both heavily involved.
For Frankfurt, this important encounter doesn’t come at the most ideal of times. They travel to Leverkusen between two Europa League semi-finals against Chelsea, the first of which they drew 1-1.
Leverkusen will be seeking to capitalize on those issues when they welcome Frankfurt to the BayArena. They go into this one just three points off Frankfurt, who are in fourth, and in a fine run of form. They’ve won three games in succession coming into the contest and in Kai Havertz have one of the best young players in the division.
For Frankfurt, a draw would be a fine result, as they seek to stay ahead of the likes of Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach heading into the final throws of the campaign.
Manchester City vs. Leicester City
For City, their biggest obstacles in theory have been overcome, as they went to Manchester United and Burnley, taking three points from each game. Now they face Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium.
The Foxes are unlikely to make this a straightforward encounter and confidence will be high among the players regarding a possible upset. They were excellent in their 3-0 win over Arsenal last Sunday and in Vardy have someone proven of excelling against the top six teams in the league.
City boss Pep Guardiola would have been thankful for the break his team had this week following a congested schedule. That time on the training pitch would have been valuable for the coach, as he knows they are now just three wins away from securing what would be an incredible domestic treble.
For City, the Liverpool result means little, as they know a win is necessary regardless. A fast start from the home side here would be vital, as the longer the match goes on, the more dangerous the visitors will be on the counter-attack.
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