There’s silverware to win and Champions League spots to be seized across European football this weekend.
In Italy the title is already decided, but the top-four fight remains in flux and is likely to be colored further by two huge derbies this week. In England there’s the FA Cup final, while in France and Italy there are crucial showdowns from absorbing title races.
All kick offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Juventus vs. Inter Milan
Saturday, May 15, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Walking out at the Allianz Stadium will be a satisfying moment for the Inter players and their manager Antonio Conte on Saturday, with their title win confirmed and the chance to deal a serious blow to Juventus’ already toiling season.
While Juventus got back to winning ways in midweek against Sassuolo, they are still outside the top four spots heading into this weekend’s fixtures. Losing the league title to Inter obviously represents a major blow to Andrea Pirlo’s team, but not qualifying for Europe’s elite competition would’ve been unthinkable at the start of the campaign.
Even if Juventus find a way past their Derby d’Italia rivals on Saturday, finishing in the top four is not in their hands. Atalanta and Milan are three points clear of them, while Napoli, who are a point clear of Juventus after last weekend, are in fantastic form
Inter may have the Scudetto wrapped up, but former Juventus midfielder and manager Conte is not the kind of character to let his players slack off in the final weeks of the season. Having been in the Bianconeri’s shadow for the best part of a decade, his players have the chance to exert a measure of revenge at last in Turin on Saturday.
Chelsea vs. Leicester City
Saturday, May 15, 12:15 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Chelsea and Leicester will put aside their league and European—in the case of the former—ambitions this weekend when they contest what should be a fantastic FA Cup final at Wembley.
While the Champions League title later this month will be the main target for Blues boss Thomas Tuchel, in his first season in charge of the London club getting a piece of silverware secured would be a big first step.
Although a rotated Chelsea team were below par in a midweek loss to Arsenal, they are still the narrow favorites on Saturday. In his time at the club Tuchel has already showcased a cultured tactical intuition on the big occasion, as was evident in the way he set up his team to beat Manchester City in the semi-finals.
Leicester made a huge step towards securing Champions League football for next season when they beat Manchester United on Tuesday and that’ll relieve some of the pressure on them going into the final. A top-four finish and a trophy would represent an incredible campaign for the Foxes, with their coach Brendan Rodgers surely in contention for Manager of the Year accolades.
Roma vs. Lazio
Saturday, May 15, 2:45 p.m. ET, ESPN+
The other concern for Juventus is that in the event of a loss on Saturday, they could yet be caught by Lazio, who will clash with their fierce rivals Roma in a crucial Derby Della Capitale later in the day.
Lazio are currently in sixth, five points behind Juventus, but have a game in hand on the former champions. That’ll be against the Juve’s rivals Torino, who are likely to be reeling on the back of a 7-0 loss to Milan last week.
After challenging for the title last term, this season has been a little disappointing for Lazio, with the balance and consistency that made them such a force in 2019-20 not quite there. At this stage, a Champions League place appears to be beyond them, although they will be watching the result of the Derby d’Italia early in the day to see if they can apply pressure to Juventus.
As for Roma, they were handed a favor by Juventus in midweek after they beat Sassuolo, who have been hunting down the Gialorrossi for a European spot. With Jose Mourinho set to take charge at the Stadio Olimpico next season, it feels vital the team gets some sort of European qualification at the end of a challenging term.
Athletic Club vs. Real Madrid
Real Madrid are clinging on in the race for the La Liga title, but will need to win against Athletic Club at San Mames on Sunday if they are to seriously maintain their slim ambitions.
After their win at Granada on Thursday, Los Blancos are two points behind their city rivals Atletico Madrid, with just two games to play. At the same time as this match on Sunday, Atletico are at home to midtable Osasuna, meaning the pressure is likely to be heaped on Zinedine Zidane’s side.
It means the match to watch will be in the Basque Country, as Real seek to overcome obdurate opponents in Athletic. It’s the kind of opposition Zidane’s players have toiled in this season on occasion and playing such a physical opponent at the end of a draining campaign will represent a big challenge.
After losing two Copa del Rey finals in the space of a couple of weeks, Athletic’s season has slowly fizzled out. However, they are renowned for raising themselves for big occasions like this and will want to end their home campaign on a high.
Lille vs. Saint-Etienne
Lille are on the brink of a shock Ligue 1 triumph and could secure the title this weekend when they welcome Saint-Etienne.
After Paris Saint-Germain suffered a surprise draw with Rennes last weekend, Les Dogues only need four points from their last three games to guarantee top spot come the end of the campaign. This match, against midtable opposition with little to play for, provides them with an excellent chance to take a big step forward in that pursuit.
All Ligue 1 matches in this penultimate round will kick off at the same time on Sunday and you can bet Lille supporters will have an eye on PSG’s meeting with Reims if things are going well for them; any dropped points for PSG and a win for Lille would end the former’s title hopes.
Saint-Etienne have won their last two and can be a dangerous opponent on their day. However, given what’s at stake for Lille here, they are huge underdogs on what may turn out to be a historic evening in France.
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