On this week’s main listening report Damian and Damon take a look at the end of season matches in some of the big leagues in Europe. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report.
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The Premier League
At the top
Only two teams are in with a shout of the title, both from Manchester in the north west of England. Manchester United, who travel to mid-table Sunderland, and Manchester City who have their last game at home against London side Queens Park Rangers. If City win, the title is theirs unless Manchester United also win and score nine goals more than City -and that’s not going to happen. United will hope that Sunderland players will already be mentally on the beach, and that QPR, desperate to avoid relegation, can at least hold City to a draw. If that happens, it may be one of the biggest chokes in Premier League history.
At the bottom
As we’ve just mentioned, QPR are involved in a relegation battle against Bolton. One of these sides will go down on the last day of the season. QPR are on 37 points, two more than Bolton but have a far superior goal difference. A point in their game against title-chasing City will be enough. Bolton need a win and they will be hopeful of getting one against a Stoke side who have nothing to play for. This one is going down to the wire.
Champions League spots
This season the race for Champions League places is a little more interesting, as if Chelsea win in the final, the fourth place team will miss out on one of the four berths awarded to the Premier League. Three sides, Arsenal on 67 points, Tottenham on 66 and Newcastle, 65 points,, are chasing third and fourth spot, but even that fourth place may not be enough. In the driving seat are Arsenal who will be confident on beating West Bromich Albion away. In fourth at the moment, but with some shaky form recently, are Tottenham who play fellow London side, Fulham. Hoping that the two north London sides slip up are Newcastle, but they have the trickiest tie of the three, an away game against Everton who are always tough to beat at home. Should be a cracking last days football in the Premier League.
At the top
The Bundesliga finished last week, with Dortmund cruising in the final stretch to the title with 81 points, eight more than rivals Bayern Munich, who now hope they can salvage their season by defeating Chelsea in the Champions League. Win or lose that, they will be in Europe’s premier tournament next year with their second-place finish, along with Schalke and Borussia Moenchengladbach who finished third and fourth respectively.
At the bottom
Relegated this year are Koln and last-place finishers Kaiserslautern, who only won four games in the whole campaign and were rooted to the bottom throughout the season. In Germany the third team to go down is decided by a play off between the team in 16th place against the 3rd place finisher in the second tier – this year that will be Hertha from the top league against Dusseldorf. One leg has already been played and Dusseldorf are on course for a Bundesliga place after taking a 2-1 lead away at Hertha. The second leg is next Tuesday and Hertha face an uphill battle.
At the top
Real Madrid have already wrapped up the title and Barcelona will finish second. Valencia have also tied up third place after their victory over Villareal last week. The fourth and final Champions League spot will be taken by either Málaga or newly-crowned Europa League champions Atlético Madrid. The south coast club, backed by huge amounts of Qatari money, are favourites as they are two points clear with a home game against struggling Sporting Gijón to come, while Atlético play away at Villareal.
At the bottom
The main focus on the final games of the season will be at the bottom where four teams are battling to avoid the drop. Sporting Gijón need to win and hope that others fail to gain any points but they look all but doomed. That leaves Zaragoza, Vallecano, Villareal and Granada battling to stay in the top flight with only two points separating them. Just to make things more interesting Granada travel to Rayo Vallecano in a head-to-head battle to stave off the drop. Squeaky-bum time at the bottom of La Liga this weekend.
At the top
Juventus have already won their 28th Scudetto – their first title in 9 years – beating AC Milan in to second place and the Bianconeri are hoping to avoid defeat in their last game of the season against Atalanta to become the first Italian side to finish a season unbeaten since Milan in 1992. Manager Antonio Conte has also lead his side to the Coppa Italia final against Napoli next week – and all this in his first season in charge. Juventus and Milan have taken two of the Champions League spots and the final place will be between Udinese, Lazio, Napoli and Inter who all have a chance of coming third. The Italian authorities have declared that goal difference will not be the main form of splitting the sides but instead it will be decided on previous head-to-head matches. Currently Udinese are in pole position as they have 61 points followed by Napoli two points behind, with Inter and Lazio a further point back. Udinese only need a point to guarantee a Champions League qualifying spot next season.
At the bottom
It is a lot more clear cut at the bottom as both Cesena and Novara have already been relegated to Serie B. Genoa need at least a point to stay up as they have a three point lead over Lecce who are odds-on favourites to be relegated.
Turkey and France
It is the final game of the season in the Turkish Super League and only one point separates Galatasaray from second place Fenerbahçe and these two rivals face off this weekend with Fenerbahçe at home. A tough one to call indeed. In France there are two games to go and surprise package Montpellier hold a three point lead over big-spending PSG with last year’s champions Lille a further two points behind. Lille take on Montpellier this weekend in a crucial game that will probably go a long way to decide the title.
in with a shout: have a chance
(mentally) on the beach : at the end of a season,, if a team is safe from relegation but not challenging for the title, they may relax and think about the summer break – they are on the beach
choke: fail badly; lose a title or a cup because the team were too nervous; see also, to bottle it
go down to the wire; only be decided in the last game; be decided right at the end
berth: place; spot
in the driving seat: in control; in the better position
shaky: not consistent; not good; up and down; weak
cracking: exciting; thrilling
in the final stretch: at the end of the season; in the last month of games
salvage their season: get something good out of an otherwise bad season; get some success despite being disappointed not to win the title
rooted to the bottom: firmly in last place; at the bottom of the division with no chance of rising
an uphill task: a very difficult job; a big challenge
wrapped up: Won the league
tied up: Finished; completed
struggling: Not doing very well
all but doomed: The team looks likely to be relegated
to stave off: To defeat, to fight against
Bianconeri: The nickname of Juventus (Black and White)
in pole position: Leading, in a good position
head-to-head matches.: Matches against each other
odds-on favourites: Complete favourites, expected to win
face off: Play each other
take on: Play against