European preview: Five-year wait over for Real Madrid?

Real Madrid last won La Liga in 2012
Final day of La Liga
Coverage: Live text commentary and match reports on the BBC Sport website and app from 18:30 BST

The race to be crowned champions of Spain will be decided on Sunday when Real Madrid and Barcelona play their final La Liga games of the season.

Leaders Real are favourites to end their five-year wait for the title, thus stopping Barcelona from winning it for the third time in a row.

Elsewhere in Europe this weekend, Juventus can win Serie A for a record sixth successive campaign, while, in Germany, Hoffenheim and their 29-year-old boss Julian Nagelsmann can clinch a place in the group stage of the Champions League.

In France, it’s all eyes on the bottom of the table as four teams scramble to avoid relegation on the final day.

BBC Sport looks at what can happen on a big weekend in Europe.

‘Most difficult part is still to come’

Jose Mourinho was in charge of Real Madrid the last time they were crowned domestic champions in 2012.

Since then Barcelona have dominated La Liga, winning it three times in the last four attempts, while Atletico Madrid were crowned champions in 2014.

Yet Real fans will be celebrating if they avoid defeat away to mid-table Malaga, whose boss is six-time Real Madrid title winner Michel, on Sunday (19:00 BST).

La Liga

Zinedine Zidane’s side are three points ahead of nearest rivals Barcelona, who are at home to eighth-placed Eibar at the same time, after winning their game in hand 4-1 away to Celta Vigo in midweek.

It is Real’s title to lose but Zidane, in his first full season in charge at the Bernabeu, is not celebrating just yet.

“The most difficult part is still to come even though we’re getting closer [to the title] every day,” he said.

“I don’t feel like we’re the champions yet, we still need to pick up more points and keep on with what we’re doing.”

Sunday marks Luis Enrique’s last La Liga game in charge of Barca after three seasons, two domestic titles and one Champions League triumph.

There is one result that gives the Barca boss hope of their title rivals slipping up… their own defeat at Malaga on 8 April.

Neymar was sent off as a 2-0 defeat hampered Enrique’s hopes of leaving the Nou Camp with another league title on his CV.

‘Mean game’

There are two games to go in Italy but the maths are simple: If Juventus win at home to relegation-threatened Crotone on Sunday (14:00 BST) the title is staying in Turin.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side recovered from last week’s 3-1 defeat at nearest rivals Roma to win the Coppa Italia with a 2-0 victory over Lazio in midweek.

“We’ve won the first title, now we want to clinch the second – Sunday against Crotone, who have taken 17 points from the last seven matches,” said Allegri.

Juventus are on course for a European and domestic treble after winning the Coppa Italia in midweek

“It’s going to be a difficult match. We’ll have to play a mean game.”

If Juve, who face Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Cardiff on 3 June, fail to beat Crotone then Roma and Napoli can pile on the pressure with wins on Saturday away to Chievo and at home to Fiorentina respectively.

However Juve could be champions before they even play if Roma lose and Fiorentina do not win.

From amateur village team to Champions League group stage?

Hoffenheim were an amateur village team when boss Julian Nagelsmann was born in 1987.

Yet they will secure a place in next season’s Champions League group stage if 29-year-old Nagelsmann can steer them to a home win over Augsburg and Borussia Dortmund fail to beat Werder Bremen at home on Saturday (14:30 BST).

Both teams start the final day on level on points, with third-placed Dortmund ahead of Hoffenheim due to a superior goal difference.

Even if fourth-placed Hoffenheim do not leapfrog Dortmund then they will enter the Champions League at the play-off round.

Hoffenheim manager Julian Nagelsmann

At the other end of the table, former European champions Hamburg need to beat fellow strugglers Wolfsburg, one place above them in the table, to avoid a relegation play-off.

Hamburg, who beat Juventus in the 1983 European Cup, remain the only club to have never been relegated from the Bundesliga since the league was founded in 1963.

Last day relegation scrap

With Monaco wrapping up a first Ligue 1 title for 17 years after a 2-0 win at home to Saint-Etienne, all eyes are on the battle to avoid relegation on the last day of the top-flight season in France.

Bastia, Lorient, Caen and Dijon all hope to stay up on Saturday.

One of the four will join already relegated Nancy in the second tier next season while another will have to compete in a relegation play-off.

Bastia, who are away at fifth-placed Marseille, start the day in an automatic relegation spot on 34 points, while Lorient, who entertain sixth-placed Bordeaux, are one point and one place above.

Caen and Dijon both have 36 points and are away at second-placed Paris St-Germain and 11th-placed Toulouse respectively.

All the games start at 20:00 BST.

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BBC Sport – Football

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