Podcast 29: The Relegation Battles

The leagues in Europe are getting closer to the finishing line. Everyone wants to win at the start of the season, but now many clubs are just looking to avoid the drop. This week we look at the teams who are nervously hoping they don’t drop down a division this summer.

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It’s only natural for the spotlight to be turned on the races for the championships at this stage of the season. Barcelona and Manchester United are both seven points clear and the title is within their grasp, Inter look comfortable but not clear while in the Bundesliga things are much more exciting. But as night follows day, Spring comes after winter, where there are winners there are losers. This week we take a look at those teams in danger of dropping from the heights, being relegated to the second tier in England, Spain, Italy and Germany.

First England. While things are not so exciting at the top, at the bottom it’s turning into a thriller. Six points separate seven teams. While Tottenham are in that group they seem to be heading in the right direction and sit on 28 points just ahead of Newcastle and Portsmouth on goal difference. Two of the newly promoted teams are struggling and it’s looking bleak for West Brom who prop up the table on 22 points. They will still believe they can escape though with victories over fellow strugglers Middlesbrough and Tottenham. Indeed Middlesbrough have been looking awful for months. they haven’t won since November. Stoke and Blackburn are the other clubs in the frame. Here are my choices to go down: Middlesbrough, West Brom and Stoke.

In Spain, there are six teams within six points of Numancia at the bottom, who have 20 points. We’ve already mentioned Espanyol’s victory over Barcelona which has lifted them off the bottom and they now have 21 points. Two of the usual suspects are there after narrowly missing relegation last year, Osasuna and Huelva, and Osasuna are only out of the bottom three above Mallorca on goal difference – both those teams have 24 points. Real Betis, despite being thrashed by Real Madrid last weekend top the group at the bottom with 26 points and I reckon they are too good to go down. My three: Numancia, Mallorca and Osasuna.

Turning to Serie A there are five teams withing six points at the bottom. On a lowly 17 are Reggina, whose last win was in November last year. After a terrible start to the season, incredibly the team from Calabria have held AC Milan, Palermo and Roma to draws this this month. Above Reggina, in the relegation spots are Chievo Verona and Lecce on 20 and 22 points respectively. Torino and Bologna hover above them. Any of these teams could be relegated, but I reckon Reggina will pull off another escape while  Chievo, Lecce and Bologna, in their centenary year, will go down.

Finally, the Bundesliga. An incredibly exciting race at the top but what about the bottom of the league? Well it’s just as tight at the bottom with six teams being sucked into the relegation battle. At the moment Borussia Monchengladbach are bottom – a far cry from their glory days which started in the late seventies when they featured in the European Cup losing to Liverpool 3-1. Kalsruhe and Bochum are one and two points ahead respectively with Bielefeld, Cottbus and Hannover hovering above the drop zone. What makes the Bundelsiga fascinating this year is that everyone seems capable of beating each other. Recently, for example, Kalsruhe beat leaders Hamburg, but were beaten by Bochum the week before. This one’s too close to call.


I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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