How the title races stand

Pitchside Europe

With the confrontation between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Monday evening likely to determine the destination of this season's Premier League crown, Pitchside Europe looks at how the title races are shaping up in Europe's other major leagues.

In Belgium's complicated championship play-off system, Anderlecht lead Club Brugge by seven points with four matches to play in the six-team round-robin tournament and could be crowned champions as early as Wednesday if results go their way.

Paris Saint-Germain's 2-1 defeat at defending champions Lille on Sunday evening opened the way for unfancied Montpellier to claim the first Ligue 1 title in the club's history. Having won 1-0 at Toulouse on Friday, Rene Girard's side lead the standings by five points with four games to play — at home to Evian, away to Rennes, at home to Lille and then away at Auxerre.

Borussia Dortmund secured their second consecutive Bundesliga title by beating Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-0 on April 21. They celebrated with a 5-2 success at relegated Kaiserslautern at the weekend and can establish a new points record for a single season (81) by winning at home to Freiburg in their final game of the season on Saturday.

Olympiacos' title triumph was confirmed by the Hellenic Football Federation on April 4 after nearest rivals Panathinaikos lost an appeal over a three-point deduction handed down to them following crowd violence at the Athens derby.

Juventus registered their eighth consecutive victory by thrashing Novara 4-0 on Sunday, which preserved their three-point lead over defending champions Milan at the Serie A summit. Still unbeaten, Juve face Lecce and travel to Cagliari before hosting Atalanta on the season's final day. All of Milan's three remaining games are at San Siro — against Atalanta on Wednesday, derby rivals Internazionale on Sunday, and Novara on May 13.

With two games of the season to go, reigning champions Ajax lead second-placed Feyenoord by six points and are all but assured of the title. They can claim the Eredivisie crown by drawing at home to VVV-Venlo on Wednesday but a 24-goal advantage over Feyenoord in terms of goal difference means the title is effectively in the bag already.

Benfica's 2-2 draw at Rio Ave on Sunday gave Porto their sixth Portuguese Liga title in the last seven years. Porto lead the standings by six points with two games left but cannot be caught by Jorge Jesus' Benfica due to a superior head-to-head record.

Zenit Saint-Petersburg secured the Russian Premier League title for a second successive season by beating nearest rivals Dynamo Moscow 2-1 on Saturday. It was Zenit's 41st league game of a marathon 18-month campaign due to the Russian top flight's transition to an autumn-spring format.

Celtic ended a four-year wait for the Scottish Premier League title by winning 6-0 at Kilmarnock on April 7. Sunday's 3-0 defeat of Rangers at Celtic Park left Neil Lennon's men 21 points above their financially imperilled Old Firm rivals with three games to go.

Real Madrid's 3-0 victory at home to Sevilla on Sunday allowed them to maintain their seven-point lead over Barcelona at the top of the table and means that they can secure a first Spanish title since 2008 if they win at Europa League finalists Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday. If Barca fail to beat Malaga earlier in the evening, a point will suffice.

Having finished the regular season with a nine-point advantage over Fenerbahce, Galatasaray lead their Istanbul rivals by two points after three games of the four-team championship play-off.

Perhaps the most finely poised title race in Europe sees defending champions Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kiev level on 73 points at the top of the Ukrainian Premier League with only two matches of the season remaining. Shakhtar face the more difficult run-in — with a trip to third-placed Metalist Kharkiv awaiting them on Wednesday — but they enjoy a 14-goal advantage over Dynamo in the goal difference column.


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