Inter and Ajax crowned, Atletico still on top: Talking points from around Europe

Paris (AFP) – As thrilling title races continue in Spain and France, Inter and Ajax were among the teams to be crowed champions this weekend while Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig set up a German Cup final date.

AFP Sport rounds up some of the main talking points from across the continent:

– Inter champions again –

Inter are Italian champions for the 19th time, with fans celebrating on the streets of Milan on Sunday after second-placed Atalanta’s draw at Sassuolo ended any chance of the Bergamo side catching Antonio Conte’s team. Inter, who won 2-0 at relegated Crotone on Saturday, have an unassailable 13-point lead with four games remaining.

They have ended the Juventus stranglehold on the Scudetto, with the Turin club’s record run of nine straight titles over as Inter take the crown for the first time since their treble-winning season under Jose Mourinho in 2009/10. 

They had not won any silverware at all since the 2011 Coppa Italia but Conte  — who oversaw the first three of Juve’s nine in a row — has been the architect of this team’s success.

Their star has been Romelu Lukaku with 21 goals, and an 18-game unbeaten league run since January pulled them clear of their rivals. The Chinese-owned club now have one more title than city rivals AC Milan, although they remain a long way behind Juve’s record of 36.

– Juve, Milan sweat for Champions League places –

There is no guarantee Juventus will even be in the Champions League next season. 

The Bianconeri came back to win 2-1 at Udinese thanks to a late Cristiano Ronaldo brace and they are third, level on points with Atalanta and AC Milan, who beat Benevento 2-0. However, Napoli are just two points behind in fifth, and only after conceding late to draw with Cagliari. Lazio, meanwhile, are five points off the Champions League qualifying spots in sixth but have a game in hand.

None of the contenders can afford to drop points, with five candidates for three places. Next weekend sees Juventus host Milan.

– Dortmund, Leipzig have final date –

Julian Nagelsmann will take over at Bayern Munich next season but the 33-year-old has the chance to leave RB Leipzig with the first trophy in their history when they face Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup final in Berlin on May 13.

Emil Forsberg scored right at the end of extra time to give Leipzig — beaten by Bayern in the 2019 final — a last-gasp 2-1 semi-final win at Werder Bremen. Dortmund were without top scorer Erling Braut Haaland but crushed second-tier Holstein Kiel 5-0. 

BVB have won the ‘Pokal’ four times. This will be their sixth final in the last decade: they won it in 2012 and 2017 but lost the finals in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

– Spain, France too close to call –

The title races in two of Europe’s big five leagues remain too close to call.

In Spain, Atletico Madrid remain two points clear of Real Madrid and Barcelona with four games left after all three won. Atletico were lucky though, winning 1-0 at Elche as their opponents missed a stoppage-time penalty. 

Sevilla will be just three points off the leaders if they beat Athletic Bilbao on Monday, and next weekend Barcelona host Atletico while Real face Sevilla.

In France Lille remain a point ahead of reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain with three games left. However Monaco’s title hopes appear over after they lost 3-2 at home to Lyon, leaving them five points behind Lille.

– Ajax crowned –

Ajax were crowned Dutch champions for a record-extending 35th time after they beat Emmen 4-0, giving them an unassailable 14-point lead over nearest rivals PSV Eindhoven with three games left.

It is back-to-back titles for Erik ten Hag’s team, who won the league in 2019 before no champion was crowned last year when the season was abandoned because of the pandemic.

Their stars have been Dusan Tadic and Davy Klaassen, although Sebastien Haller has added nine goals since signing from West Ham United in January. 

Elsewhere Zenit Saint Petersburg sealed a third straight Russian title after hammering nearest rivals Lokomotiv Moscow 6-1 while Slavia Prague secured their third straight Czech title. They are unbeaten after 30 games.

25+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
  • Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
  • Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
  • Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
  • Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo.
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
  • $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
  • Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
  • Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family

Leave a Reply

Translate »