Manchester City was full of confidence before facing PSG, unlike Juventus on the verge of crisis, like English football. Here is what to remember from the European weekend.
Three days before its semi-final first leg of the Champions League in Paris, Manchester City has been full of confidence. It started even before the kickoff of the Coupe de la Ligue final, since the Citizens recorded the return – unexpected – of Kevin De Bruyne, injured in the ankle a week earlier. On the lawn, Pep Guardiola’s men did the bare minimum to afford the League Cup thanks to a goal from French Aymeric Laporte (1-0).
What we remember from this match are especially the 8,000 spectators present in the stands of Wembley, the stadium which will host Euro 2021 including the semi-finals and the final. Until then, other tests will take place, notably in the Cup final between Chelsea and Leicester on May 15, with 21,000 people. For the Euro, the gauge will be 25% for the first round, a little more for the knockout matches, and a full stadium with 80,000 spectators is expected for the final on July 11.
Even if the English clubs left the Super League during the week, under pressure from their fans in particular, the anger has not subsided across the Channel. From Friday night, it was around Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium that Gunners fans protested massively. Their claim? The departure of the American owner, Josh Kroenke. The next day, similar scenes occurred in Manchester where United fans had the same idea, demanding the sale of the club, in the hands of the Glazer family since 2005. According to the Daily Mirror, the American owners would be ready to sell the club against a check of… 4.6 billion euros.
Who said the Bundesliga was a championship played in advance? Admittedly, a ninth consecutive title reaches out to Bayern Munich, but the Bavarian club missed a first opportunity to get their hands on Saturday. Despite the returns of Robert Lewandowski and Leon Goretzka, the Munich fell 2 goals to 1 on the lawn of Mainz (12th). To be crowned this weekend, Bayern hoped for a defeat of Leipzig against VfB Stuttgart. But Christopher Nkunku’s teammates won 2-0.
It is just behind this duo that the fight rages. So far behind in the Champions League race, Borussia Dortmund of Erling Haaland redistributed the cards this weekend by winning at the third, Wolfsburg, thanks to a double from the Norwegian (2-0). Combined with the defeat of Frankfurt against Leverkusen, this allows the BVB to return to a point of qualifying places for the next C1. A small miracle, three days before the end of the championship.
We begin to understand why Andrea Agnelli wanted to create a European Super League: because his club, Juventus Turin, may not participate in the next Champions League. And for good reason, the Turin club, which remains on nine consecutive league titles, is only fourth in Serie A. And perhaps even fifth Monday night, in the event of victory for Napoli against Torino. A more than disappointing fifth place, but which, above all, would not send Juventus to the Champions League next season.
Nothing surprising since the Turinese have had a series of poor performances lately, like their draw on the lawn of Franck Ribery’s Fiorentina on Sunday (1-1). Meanwhile, Inter Milan continue their lone rider in the lead and rush to the Scudetto after their 1-0 victory against Hellas Verona. His first pursuer, Atalanta Bergamo, is 11 points. Five days from the end of the championship, it smells good for the Interists, who have been waiting for this title since 2010.