Three big battles this weekend in Spain, England and Italy that will have major impacts on who will be playing in the Champions League next season. Here is a look at those games:
England: Liverpool v Chelsea
Back on the top three following a 3-0 west London derby win at Fulham on Wednesday, Chelsea travel to Anfield for what will be their second of three away games in eight days. After taking on Liverpool, in seventh, the Blues journey to Basel next week for their Europa League semi-final opener. The match will be former Reds boss Rafa Benitez’s first appearance at Anfield, an ironic situation where he will be warmly welcomed by the home fans than the Chelsea fans.
Spain: Valencia v Málaga
With a trip to Real Sociedad, in fourth, to follow next weekend, sixth-placed Valencia welcome a Málaga side who sit level on points with the Mestalla club but above them on goal difference. Valencia striker Roberto Soldado realises his team are entering a crucial phase as they target a Champions League qualifying spot.
“Unfortunately [finishing in the top four] is not in our hands, but we must look to win all our remaining games,” said the Spain forward. “The Málaga match is so important for us and we want to win it, because if we don’t then La Real [four points ahead] will start to get away from us. The form they are in, it’s hard to see them slipping up.”
Italy: Juventus v AC Milan
Eleven points clear of Napoli with six games remaining, Juventus aim to take another step towards retaining the Scudetto when they host third-placed Milan.
“I hope we can reach the finish line in three or four weeks,” said captain Gianluigi Buffon. “It would be a great achievement, the right award for spending most of the season at the top of the table, and a great sign of consistency after last season’s success.”
Milan lie four points behind Napoli in the battle to qualify directly for the Champions League group stage, yet are also looking over their shoulder at Fiorentina, who play Torino this weekend.
“The race for second place is still wide open,” said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.