Saturday, 22 March 2014

The title hunt in Europe's top leagues

Diego Costa, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
England's title race is still between four teams, but how do the top leagues on the continent stand?
From three-horse races to teams chasing titles at record-breaking speed, BBC Sport takes a look at what is going on around Europe.

Spain

La Liga: The Spanish league is a three-horse race. Real Madrid top the table by three points from city rivals Atletico, while Barcelona are four points off the leaders.
Key fixtures:
Real Madrid v Barcelona (Sunday, 23 March)
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid (Sunday, 18 May - the final day)
Copa del Rey: Barcelona will play arch-rivals Real Madrid in the final at Valencia's Mestalla Stadium on Wednesday, 16 April.

France

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Ligue 1: Paris St-Germain are on course to defend their title. They lead Monaco by eight points after beating fourth-placed St Etienne on Sunday. Third-placed Lille are a further nine points behind the side from the principality, who were only promoted from Ligue 2 last summer.
Coupe de France: The French cup is at the quarter-final stage. Monaco host Lens in their tie on Wednesday, 26 March.
Coupe de la Ligue: Paris St-Germain face Lyon in the French League Cup final on Saturday, 19 April.

Italy

Andrea Pirlo
Serie A: Defending champions Juventus are in control with 10 matches remaining. They are 14 points clear of nearest challengers Roma, who still have a game in hand.
Coppa Italia: Fiorentina face Rafael Benitez's Napoli in the final on Friday, 2 May.

Germany

Bayern Munich
German Bundesliga: It is a matter of when Bayern Munich retain the German title. They are 23 points ahead of Borussia Dortmund with nine games left. Bayern won the league with a record six games to spare last season and are looking to beat that mark this year.
Victory at Mainz this weekend (Saturday, 22 March) would secure them the title if Dortmund and Schalke also both fail to win.
DFB-Pokal: Bayern Munich, chasing a second consecutive treble, face second tier Kaiserslautern in the German Cup semi-finals on Tuesday, 15 April. Borussia Dortmund face Wolfsburg the day before.
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