European Football Betting Weekend Review: 17-19 May

It’s been another busy weekend of European football, so here’s a recap of all the results, stories and talking points from La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and beyond.

La Liga

It was the penultimate weekend of action in La Liga, with nine of the ten matches kicking off simultaneously on Sunday night; Alavés 1-0 Getafe given the big billing on Saturday for some reason!

Well, with one round of games still to go, all issues have been resolved and decided, meaning next weekend’s games have now been spread out at the last minute! Classic La Liga behaviour.

Champions Real Madrid were, for sure, involved in the game of the weekend, drawing 4-4 with Villarreal at Estadio de la Cerámica; Alexander Sørloth continuing his red-hot form by scoring all four!

The Norwegian has become only the 11th player to ever score 4+ in a match against Real Madrid, just the fourth to achieve this since the start of the new millennium.

Having scored 15 times in his last 12 La Liga appearances, taking his tally to 23, Sørloth is now two clear in the race for the Pichichi, set to become the first non-Barça or Real Madrid winner since Dani Güiza 16 years ago.

However, this will not be enough to get el Submarino Amarillo into Europe, as we now know it’s Athletic Club and Real Sociedad who are Europe League-bound, with Real Betis the Conference League representatives.

This was decided following la Real’s 2-0 victory over Betis at the Benito Villamarín, Brais Méndez and Mikel Merino on target in the first half, establishing a four point gap between the pair ahead of the final weekend.

Elsewhere, Atlético Madrid are guaranteed to finish fourth, despite being hammered 4-1 by Osasuna at the Metropolitano, encapsulating a miserable campaign for los Colchoneros.

Under Diego Simeone, Atleti have only conceded 3+ goals in eight of his 239 La Liga home games in charge, but three of these have come this season (also against Getafe and Barça).

Speaking of Barcelona, they wrapped up the runners-up spot thanks to a 3-0 thumping of Rayo Vallecano, in which Pedri bagged a brace at Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc.

This rubber stamped second and a place at the Supercopa in Saudi Arabia, which is good for the finances if nothing else, but Xavi was reportedly having crunch talks with president Joan Laporta after the match so, despite reversing his decision to leave, having been persuaded to stay, who knows what’ll happen now.

Completing the top four are Girona, who hammered Valencia 3-1 at Mestalla, looking forward to becoming Spain’s 14th difference club in the Champions League, thereby making their debut in UEFA competition.

Lastly, the only outstanding point of interest was the relegation battle, but Sunday’s results confirmed that Cádiz will be joining Andalusian neighbours Granada and Almería in the Segunda División.

Having breathed new life into their survival bid with back-to-back wins earlier this week, Mauricio Pellegrino’s team were then unable to beat Las Palmas, held to a goalless draw, with Víctor Chust sent off towards the end.

This was great news for Mallorca who, despite also failing to beat rock bottom Almería at Son Moix, are safe, so what a season it has been for Javier Aguirre’s team, who were a penalty shootout away from winning the Copa del Rey.

Serie A

It was also the second last weekend of the campaign in Serie A, with the relegation battle certainly the most interesting aspect ahead of the denouement.

Salernitana have been down for weeks, but it was confirmed this weekend that Sassuolo will also be heading for Serie B, ending their 11-year stay in the top division.

I Neroverdi were beaten 2-0 by Cagliari in Sunday’s early kick off, their fourth defeat in five games, condemning Sassuolo to the drop, just three seasons after they achieved back-to-back eighth placed finishes.

Elsewhere on Sunday, the two clubs either side of the dreaded dotted line went head-to-head, playing out a draw that ultimately proves inconclusive.

That though does not tell half the story, because Empoli thought they’d claimed a priceless victory when M’Baye Niang converted a 90th minute penalty, only for Udinese to be awarded a spot-kick of their own by VAR that Lazar Samardžić converted, in the 14th minute of added on time.

With 103:33 on the clock this, unsurprisingly, is the latest goal scored in Serie A since records began.

So, that goal means Empoli remain in the relegation zone, one point below Udinese and Hellas Verona (who are in action on Monday), two adrift Frosinone and three below Cagliari.

Remember, if the clubs in 17th and 18th finish level on points, a one-legged relegation tie-breaker will take place, as we saw between Verona and Spezia 12 months ago, and as a neutral we’d love to see another.

On the final day, Empoli welcome a Roma side with nothing to play for to Stadio Carlo Castellani, probably needing to win to save themselves, but Davide Nicola isn’t the escape artist for no reason.

Towards the top of the table, Atalanta made mathematically sure of their place in next season’s Champions League, with goals from Gianluca Scamacca and Charles De Ketelaere securing a fifth successive victory for la Dea, this time over Lecce at Stadio Via del mare.

Following defeat in last mid-week’s Coppa Italia Final, Gian Piero Gasperini’s side get another shot at silverware on Wednesday night, taking on Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League Final, so can they end the Bundesliga champions’ undefeated record this season in Dublin?

So, in the race for Europe, who know that champions Inter, AC Milan, Bologna, Juventus and Atalanta will be in the Champions League, with Roma Europa League-bound, likely to be joined by their city rivals Lazio.

On Friday night, in the fight for eighth, Fiorentina and Napoli played out an entertaining 2-2 draw, in which both Cristiano Biraghi and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia scored free-kicks at Stadio Artemio Franchi.

This is the first time both teams have scored direct free-kick goals in a Serie A match for over six years.

Vincenzo Italiano’s team therefore continue to occupy the last European spot, with Napoli sinking down to tenth, leapfrogged by Torino who are still in the hunt for European qualification.

If I Viola win the Europa Conference League Final and finish eighth, the European spots will go down to ninth, which could be great news for Ivan Jurić's team.

On Saturday night, Il Toro smashed AC Milan 3-1 at the Grande Torino, scoring 3+ against Milan for the first time since April 1959, so I Granata are still in the mix for Europe, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Bergamo.

Lastly, despite the fact they have nothing left to play for this season, we have to talk about Juventus.

Last week was a strange one, even by I Bianconeri standard, winning the Coppa Italia for a record-extending 15th time on Wednesday night, before announcing the sacking of Massimiliano Allegri on Friday morning.

Considering la Vecchia Signora have yielded just 15 points from their last 15 Serie A matches, Allegri’s departure is no surprise, but the fact he’s become only the third Juve manager to be fired in-season for 50 years, after Claudio Ranieri (2007) and Ciro Ferrara (2009), did come out of nowhere.

On Monday night, Juve visit Bologna who, having secured Champions League football, returning to the competition after a six-decade long absence, will be in party mood at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.


Bologna to win

Bologna vs Juventus


Hellas Verona to win

Salernitana vs Hellas Verona


At 3/1, a £10 bet would return £42.40!

Serie A acca of the day


Saturday afternoon saw the final day of the season in the Bundesliga, and wow was it dramatic.

The 38 goals this weekend makes it the highest-scoring Bundesliga season since 86/87, with an average of 3.22 goals-per-game.

The primary focus was on the relegation battle, with Köln needing to beat Heidenheim to have any chance of survival, but die Geißböcke were smashed 4-1 at Voith-Arena, sending them down alongside Darmstadt.

There was drama just above however, as Union Berlin, who kicked off in the relegation play-off spot, leaving it late to save themselves.

Die Eisernen simply had to win against Freiburg to climb out of the bottom three but, despite taking the lead through Benedict Hollerbach, were pegged back by Ritsu Dōan with five minutes to play.

Then, in stoppage time, referee Christian Dingert awarded Union possibly the most important penalty of their 118-year history.

Back in the first half, Josip Juranović had seen a spot-kick saved, so Kevin Volland stepped up this time, only for Noah Atubolu to deny him as well, tipping the effort onto the post, but Janik Haberer was on hand to fire home the rebound, sparking wild celebrations at Stadion An der Alten Försterei.

This though was only enough to save Union because, concurrently, VfL Bochum were hammered 4-1 by Werder Bremen , meaning die Unabsteigbaren will face Fortuna Düsseldorf in the relegationsspielen, with the first leg coming up on Thursday.

Mainz would’ve been the side in those play-offs, but die Nullfünfer completed their great escape by smashing Wolfsburg 3-1.

When Bo Henriksen arrived, Mainz were doomed, but have concluded the campaign unbeaten in nine, with a first away win since April Fool’s Day last year ensuring safety for the Carnival club.

Away from the relegation battle, Bayer Leverkusen were presented with a first-ever Meisterschale following their 2-1 win over Augsburg, thereby becoming the first club in the Bundesliga-era to go an entire season unbeaten; goals from Victor Boniface and Robert Andrich cementing this unfathomable achievement.

Overall, Xabi Alonso’s side are unbeaten in 51 matches across all competitions, two wins away from an invincible, treble-winning campaign, facing Atalanta in Wednesday’s Europa League Final, before taking on Kaiserslautern in next Saturday night’s DFB-Pokal Final.

If it wasn’t for Bayer, Stuttgart would be the story of the season, with die Schwaben set to return to the Champions League for the first time since 2009/10 later this year.

Sebastian Hoeneß's side concluded the campaign in style, hammering Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-0, a result that actually saw them finish second, their highest finish since last winning the title in 2007.

Having finished 16th last season, surviving via the relegation play-off, Stuttgart have equalled the record for biggest improvement from one Bundesliga season to the next, a record held by Werder Bremen, who also climbed from 16th to 2nd back in 1968.

Die Roten were able to achieve this because Bayern Munich were beaten 4-2 by Hoffenheim, despite leading 2-0 after just six minutes at Rhein-Neckar-Arena, thanks to goals from Mathys Tel and Alphonso Davies.

An embarrassing way for Thomas Tuchel’s tenure to end, with the most tangible impact the fact that August’s DFL-Supercup will not feature Bayern for the first time since Schalke beat fierce rivals Dortmund in 2011.

A big summer awaits in Bavaria, as the hierarchy continue to scrabble around in search of a new manager.

Elsewhere, RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Šeško was on target during his side’s 2-2 draw in Frankfurt, becoming the youngest player to score in seven successive Bundesliga matches, smashing Rudi Völler’s record.

This draw, in which Eintracht had to fight back from 2-0, secured sixth place for die Adler, meaning they’ll go into the Europa League, or will be awarded a Champions League, should Dortmund win this season’s final on 1 June; we know who Dino Toppmöller will be supporting that night!

Hoffenheim’s aforementioned comeback 4-2 win over Bayern means die Kraichgauer will be back in Europe for the first time since 2020, entering the Europa League if Bayer win the cup final.

That would also be good news for Heidenheim who, in their first-ever top-flight campaign, one of the smallest clubs to ever compete in the Bundesliga, finished eighth, with Frank Schmidt’s team therefore set to feature in August’s Conference League play-off round.

In the any other business section, Christian Streich waved goodbye to Freiburg, after 490 games and 13 years in charge of Breisgau-Brasilianer.

Lastly, the only game we haven’t mentioned, Borussia Dortmund hammered Darmstadt 4-0, with Marco Reus marking his final appearance at Westfalenstadion with a goal, but he could still sign off in yellow and black by winning the Champions League at Wembley.


Bayer Leverkusen to win and both teams to score

UEFA Europa League Final

Ligue 1

The Ligue 1 season also drew to a close on Sunday night, with plenty changing on the last day.

Starting with the relegation battle, Lorient began the day three points below Metz and with a goal difference that was seven inferior, so les Merlus need a miracle to survive.

Well, Régis Le Bris’ side certainly did their part, hammering bottom of the table Clermont Foot 5-0 at Stade du Moustoir, ending a seven-game losing streak, with Bamba Dieng bagging the fifth in stoppage time.

Simultaneously, Metz were hosting PSG and found themselves 2-0 down inside 12 minutes, Carlos Soler and Lee Kang-in scoring, but László Bölöni’s side held on, ultimately finish above Lorient by virtue of head-to-head away goals scored, the sixth tie-breaker.

So, heartbreaking for Lorient, who become the first team relegated to Ligue 2 by virtue of a tie-breaker since Nancy 24 years ago.

As for Metz, their season is far from over, featuring in the relegation play-offs on 30 May and 2 June, facing one of Paris FC, Rodez or Saint-Étienne over two-legs.

Elsewhere, the European places were also sorted out this weekend, with a fairytale having its happy ending.

We already knew champions PSG and Monaco would feature in the Champions League league phase, with Brest and Lille fighting for third, seeking to qualify directly, as fourth place entails entering in qualifying.

Lille started the night above on goal difference but with a tougher fixture, held to a 2-2 draw by Nice at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, with Jordan Lotomba firing in a 94th minute equaliser for the visitors.

This duly opened the door for Brest who smashed right through it, hammering Toulouse 3-0, with Mahdi Camara the scorer of a stunning opener, before Jordan Amavi and Kenny Lala sealed the win.

Prior to this season, Stade Brestois had never finished higher than eighth in their top-flight history, but Eric Roy’s team have now not only qualified for Europe for the very first time, but will feature in the newly-expanded Champions League league phase; a truly remarkable achievement.

For Lille, they’ll have to settle for a place in the Champions League third qualifying round, needing to win two ties to reach the league phase, which won’t be easy, with Rangers or Benfica amongst the potential opponents.

Just below, we already knew Nice were Europa League-bound, but they’ll be joined by Olympique Lyonnais which, on the surface, isn’t a massive surprise, but it is if you’ve been paying attention.

It took until 12 November for les Gones to claim their first victory of the season, still sat rock bottom after 14 matches, having lost nine of them.

Since then though, Pierre Sage has completely turned things around, claiming 15 victories from 20 matches since 10 February, earning more Ligue 1 points than any other team in 2024.

Sunday’s 2-1 win over Strasbourg, in which Alexandre Lacazette’s 94th minute spot-kick snatched victory, saw Lyon secure sixth place, guaranteed a place in the Europa League ahead of next weekend’s Coupe de France Final, in which they’re dreaming of winning silverware for the first time since 2012, up against PSG.

Speaking of Paris Saint-Germain, their aforementioned 2-0 win at Metz means they’re the first side in French top-flight history to go an entire away campaign unbeaten, never even behind at any point during any of these road fixtures.

Nevertheless, it was still a disappointing season for les Rouge-et-Bleu, mainly due to their Champions League exit against Borussia Dortmund, but their tally of 76 points is also their lowest point-per-game for nine years.

Back to the final day race for Europe and it was Lens who snuck into the Conference League place, despite only managing a 2-2 draw with Montpellier at Stade Bollaert-Delelis, in which they’d been 2-0 up at half time.

Les Sang et Or therefore finished a point above Olympique de Marseille meaning, after a chaotic campaign, even by OM standards, they’ve missed out on Europe for only the third time in two decades.

We already know that Auxerre and Angers are coming up from Ligue 2, while the play-offs get underway on Tuesday, with Metz in particular taking a keen interesting in finding out who’ll win Friday’s semi-final.


Paris Saint-Germain to win and both teams to score

Coupe de France Final

Anything else?

Süper Lig title race goes to the final day

Lastly, to Turkey, where the title race is going to the wire.

Kicking off six points clear with two to play, Galatasaray would have secured a record-extending 23rd title in Sunday’s Intercontinental Derby, had they avoided defeat against Fenerbahçe at home.

Considering Okan Buruk’s team had won 18 successive league games, dating back to the reverse fixture on Christmas Eve, a 0-0 draw, this seemed very likely.

Well, at a raucous Ali Sami Yen, Fener had a mountain to climb if they were to claim the win they required when Alexander Djiku was sent off after only 23 minutes.

Nevertheless, it was the Yellow Canaries celebrating by full time with Çağlar Söyüncü (remember him?) the hero and only goalscorer.

This takes Fener’s points tally to 96, three fewer than Gala, meaning the Yellow-Reds will still retain the title should they avoid defeat at Konyaspor on Sunday but, if they do suffer a shock defeat, victory for Fenerbahçe at home to İstanbulspor will see them snatch a first title for a decade by virtue of head-to-head.

Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".