Bayern poised to clinch Bundesliga title

March 30, 2018
AP In this Wednesday, March 14, 2018 file photo, Bayern's players pose for the photographers before their Champions League, round of 16, second leg match against Besiktas at Vodafone Arena stadium in Istanbul.
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BERLIN, AP - Bayern Munich can claim their record-extending sixth straight Bundesliga title with a win at home over old rival Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

For that to happen, however, second-place Schalke would need to drop points earlier in the day at home to Freiburg, one of at least five teams fighting relegation.

Bayern lead by 17 points with seven games remaining, meaning the title celebrations are just a matter of time. The side is unbeaten in 35 league games at home.

At the other end of the standings, last-place Hamburger SV and resurgent Cologne visit Stuttgart and Hoffenheim, respectively. Wolfsburg, who are just above the relegation zone on goal difference, have not won in eight games across all competitions ahead of  their trip to Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

ENGLAND

Manchester City can set up a potentially title-clinching matchup against fierce rivals Manchester United by beating Everton in the Premier League on Saturday.

City lead second-place United by 16 points with eight matches left. If City win at Goodison Park, Pep Guardiola's side can wrap up the title in record time with a victory in the derby at Etihad Stadium seven days later.

United's priority has switched to securing a Champions League qualification berth for a top-four finish, and  are two points ahead of third-place Liverpool going into a home match against Swansea on Saturday. Hours earlier, Liverpool visits Crystal Palace.

Fifth-place Chelsea trail Tottenham by five points ahead of their London derby at Stamford Bridge.

SPAIN

Lionel Messi's health is the biggest concern for Barcelona following an international break during which their star player missed two matches with Argentina due to a muscle problem in an unspecified leg.

Barcelona visit Sevilla on Saturday holding an 11-point lead over second-place Atletico Madrid in La Liga. With the league title apparently in hand, Barcelona could give Messi extra rest to save him for next week's Champions League quarterfinal against Roma.

Atletico host Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday. Third-place Real Madrid travel to the Canary Islands to face Las Palmas on Saturday, with their priority clearly being next week's Champions League clash with Juventus.

ITALY

AC Milan's resurgence under Gennaro Gattuso faces its toughest test yet when the team visits Serie A leaders Juventus on Saturday.

Milan have won their past five league matches to move to within five points of the final Champions League qualifying position — currently occupied by Inter Milan, a team they face next week.

Juventus opened up a four-point gap over Napoli but were surprisingly held to 0-0 draw by relegation-threatened Spal in their  last match and saw their advantage cut in half.

Napoli visit Sassuolo a few hours before Juventus kicks off, with all matches being played on Saturday because of Easter.

FRANCE

The first trophy of the season is up for grabs as Paris Saint-Germain face Monaco in the French League Cup final. It is a repeat of last year's final won by PSG 4-1.

At that time, Monaco were top of the French league and on their way to the Champions League semifinals. After selling several key players, Monaco struggled to rebuild but have found consistency in recent months, losing only one of 19 games since going out of the Champions League group stage.

PSG will be highly motivated to win the League Cup for a fifth straight year. Victory would be the first step in PSG's bid for a domestic treble, which would somewhat soften the blow of another early European exit.

 

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