Most European football leagues have passed the halfway mark and so on this week’s main listening report we take a look at the big five European leagues and ask who will finish champions come May. This listening report is a shortened version of the regular weekly podcast. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link above and you can read the transcript below with key vocabulary explained at the bottom of the post
Spain: La Liga
In recent times in Spain we have become accustomed to a two-horse race between the two giants of La Liga: Real Madrid and Barcelona and yet again these two are involved in a very tight affair at the top of the table. The surprise however is that they are currently three points behind the leaders Atlético Madrid who have hit the top of the table for the first time since 1996 – when Atlético went on to win their last title. Can they cause a huge upset and do it again? Under manager Diego Simeone they have already won the Europa League twice and defeated their nemesis Real Madrid in last season’s Copa del Rey final. Of course it will not be easy for Atlético as Real Madrid have recently found their form under new boss Carlo Ancelotti while Barcelona have also welcomed back Argentinan star Leo Messi after a long injury absence to strengthen their side. This one will go down to the wire and is difficult to call but I am going for Atlético Madrid.
Germany: Die Bundesliga
Unlike Spain, the German league is not close at all with reigning champions Bayern Munich running away with the title. They are currently 10 points clear of second place Bayer Leverkusen with Borussia Dortmund a further 7 points back. Munich, under new boss Pep Guardiola, are on an amazing unbeaten run of over 40 games in the league and only the foolhardy would see them failing to retain their title.
England: The Premier League
There are only two points separating the top three sides in England with London team Arsenal leading Manchester City and Chelsea. Few would have expected to see Arsenal challenging for their first title in ten years but the signing of Mesut Özil seems to have galvanised them but most fans are still tipping the big spending Man City and Chelsea to win the title. City had won all of this season’s home fixtures – many of them convincingly – until last week when Jose Mourinho helped Chelsea to an important away victory that may give them a psychological boost on the run-in. Like La Liga, this title race will be tight but I still feel that Manchester City’s greater fire power – they have scored over 100 goals already this season – will see them to their second title in three years.
France: Ligue 1
Paris Saint Germain were everyone’s favourites before the start of the French season and they are five points clear at the top of Ligue 1 but big spending south coast club Monaco are still in with a chance despite losing their top scorer Radamel Falcao. Saint Etienne and Lille are a further 8 points behind but are not going to challenge for the title and instead will be battling to qualify for next season’s Champions League. The winners? It has to be PSG again.
Italy: Serie A
Juventus look odds on favourites to retain their title as they sit nine points clear of second place Roma with Napoli back in third. Both sides at the top have lost only once this season but Juventus have won an amazing 19 of their 22 matches so the 2013-14 Scudetto should be theirs come the summer.
a two-horse race: When only two sides can win the title
a very tight affair: A close battle
nemesis: Biggest enemy (rival)
will go down to the wire: The title race will be close and will not be decided until the end of the season.
is difficult to call: Hard to predict
running away with: They are winning by a large margin
the foolhardy: The crazy
to have galvanised: To have helped, motivated
fire power: Attacking power
odds on favourites: Strong favourites; most people think they will win
Scudetto: The Italian title