The biggest leagues in Europe are a strange bunch right now.
On the one hand, there is Paris Saint-Germain, who’ve won all 13 of their opening games, and have opened up a 13 point lead at the top of Ligue 1. On the other, Bayern Munich are fifth in Germany and Real Madrid are sixth in Spain.
Things are even more complicated than that though, at both the top and the bottom, so our friends at Football Whispers are here to run through how Europe’s title and relegation races are shaping up.
The title race is more open than it’s been in an awful long time, and the twin giants of Barcelona and Real Madrid are further apart in the table than they’ve been a while too.
The Catalan club are top of the league, but only by a single point, with 24 points from 12 games. Astonishingly, three teams sit just a single point below them, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, and Alaves — who finished last season in 14th — are the rest of the top four.
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Below them are Espanyol — who aren’t exactly traditional heavyweights themselves — and below them are Real Madrid, just four points behind leaders Barca.
Given the upheaval that’s gone on at the Bernabeu, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they were further away from top spot in terms of points, but they have Barca’s own struggles to thank for still being in touching distance. With only seven wins from 12 matches, Lionel Messi and co. would only be fifth if they were in the Premier League.
The fight for survival is not quite so exciting. Sixteenth to 18th are separated by a single point, and Rayo Vallecano and Huesca aren’t too far behind that, but the real story is that Valencia and Villarreal are both in danger.
Both are in European competition this season, but are within four points of the drop zone. Valencia, as Champions League representatives, are better off than their Europa League counterparts Villarreal, who are separated from 18th spot by one point and a marginally better goal difference.
Madrid can comfort Bayern Munich in their own sorrow –– the reigning Bundesliga champions sit in fifth, seven points behind Borussia Dortmund after having been beaten by them 3-2 in Der Klassiker at the weekend.
Like Madrid, Bayern had a new manager in charge this season, but unlike Madrid he remains in his job (for the moment).
If anyone was doubting Dortmund’s title credentials, the win over Bayern will have done a lot to dispel those concerns. Not only did BVB fight back from a goal down, twice, to win, but there was no luck involved in the victory, it was fully deserved and they could have scored more.
Between the two clubs are Borussia Monchengladbach, RB Leipzig — who had such a good debut season in Germany’s top flight two years ago but had a difficult sophomore year — and Eintracht Frankfurt.
Dormund to win the league at 1.86* and more Bundeslia markets here
Frankfurt have become a force this season after being a middle or lower-middle-table side for the past few years. Striker Luka Jovic has nine goals in the league in just six starts and three substitute appearances, an excitingly impressive return for a 20-year-old. All three clubs look like they’ll run the traditional heavyweights close this season.
The relegation race is extraordinarily tight as well. The bottom six, in this 18-team league, are separated by just three points, with the added excitement of the league’s relegation play-off — between 16th place in the Bundesliga and third place in Bundesliga 2 — thrown into the mix.
Serie A and Ligue 1
If Paris Saint-Germain were to lose this season’s Ligue 1 title now, it would be about as surprising as when Leicester City won the Premier League.
Their 13-point lead at the top looks unassailable, but below them there are a host of teams fighting for the European places. From Lille in second to Marseille in sixth each team in the five-club group is separated by just one point from the one either side of them.
Lille to finish in the top 3 at 3.50* and other Ligue 1 markets here
At the bottom, Thierry Henry’s Monaco are in trouble, of course, five points off safety already.
In Italy, Juventus’ six point lead over Napoli isn’t quite in the realm of PSG, but it’s close. Serie A also has the distinction of a team still on zero points — although Chievo have drawn three matches, they still have a nought by their name thanks to a points deduction for accounting irregularities.
Bologna, Udinese, and Empoli are separated by a single point in 16th to 18th, but the other big story of the Italian season is the good performance of both Milan sides. Inter are currently third on 25 points, while AC Milan are just outside the Champions League places in fifth on 21 points.
AC Milan to finish in the top 4 at 2.40* and other Serie A markets here
*odds subject to change
UEFA Nations League Enhanced Acca Betting Preview, Tips and Odds – 15/11/2018
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