European Soccer: Champions and Relegation Battles in the Premier League, Bundesliga, and More

August 22, 2023

We’re nearing the conclusion of the 2022-23 domestic European soccer seasons, making it a good time to survey the state of the championship and relegation candidates in the biggest leagues in the world.


Premier League

The title race has ended in the Premier League, as Manchester City clinched its third consecutive championship after a shocking 1-0 Arsenal loss to Nottingham Forest last weekend. While the Citizens have allowed the fewest goals in the league, they’ve been powered by an explosive trio of Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, and Riyad Mahrez to pot 93 goals and post a +62-goal differential.

Speaking of Nottingham Forest, they ensured they’ll remain in the Premier League for the second consecutive season with their win. Southampton isn’t so lucky, as they’ll be relegated to the English Football League Championship.

The remaining two relegation spots will come down to this final weekend of the season. Leeds United is in significant trouble with only 31 points and a -27 goal differential. They need to beat Tottenham at home and hope two other games go their way. Leicester City currently sits two points behind Everton. Due to goal differential, if Leicester can secure a win over West Ham and Everton either ties or loses, Leicester will remain in the top league and Everton will be demoted.

Everton, the only team in this three-way battle that has never been relegated from the Premier League, is also the only team that controls its own destiny — if the Toffees win, they’ll escape relegation.

La Liga

All teams have three games remaining, but there’s little drama at the top of the table, as already-crowned champion FC Barcelona has racked up an impressive 85 points, compared to just 72 for second place Atlético Madrid.

The race to avoid relegation to Segunda Divisón (La Liga 2) has plenty more drama. Elche is at the bottom of the barrel with only 20 points – they’ve tallied only four wins – and a dreadful -38 goal differential. After a three-year run in La Liga, they’ll be demoted for the 2023-24 campaign.

But beyond Elche, seven teams have between 34 and 40 points, and none of them are safe just yet: Espanyol (34 points), Getafe (35), Valladolid and Cadiz (38), Almeria (39), and Valencia and Celta Vigo (40). Today’s games should clear things up a bit more.


We could see a historic run come to a close this weekend. Bayern Munich has won 10 consecutive league titles, but this weekend could finally see a new champion crowned in the top German league. Not only will Bayern have to win against mid-table Kӧln this weekend — a likely outcome — but Borussia Dortmund will also have to lose to mid-table Mainz.

Dortmund carries plenty of momentum into the matchup, having won four of their last five matches to go along with one draw. A win at home against Mainz will give the team its first Bundesliga title since 2011-12.

In contrast to the Premier League and La Liga, only two teams in the German League are guaranteed relegation each season. Hertha Berlin is going down, as they’ve managed only 26 points and cannot climb out of last place. VfB Stuttgart, Vfl Bochum, and Schalke each have either 31 or 32 points.

Stuttgart is in the best shape out of the group with 32 points and a fairly respectable -12 goal differential, while 32-point Bochum and 31-point Schalke are stuck on -35 and -34 goal differentials, respectively. However, should either pull off a win on the final matchday this Saturday, their fate could change quickly. Schalke looks to have the hardest matchup, as they face red hot, third-place Red Bull Leipzig on the road.

The 16th-place Bundesliga team will enter a relegation playoff against the third-place team from Bundesliga 2 to see who will be in the top division next season.

Serie A

Napoli has dominated the competition by posting a 27-5-4 record and an extraordinary +47 goal differential to lock up a finish at the top of the table. That’s come even after they’ve taken their foot off the gas pedal a bit in their last five games, winning just twice, drawing twice, and losing once.

There’s also less drama in the league when looking at potential relegations. Sampdoria will head to Serie B in 2023-24, and Cremonese is all but certain to join them. Verona is currently the third team in the relegation zone with 30 points. However, they sit just one point behind Spezia. That will be a battle to watch across the final two matches. And although Lecce has looked superior to both teams, they’re just three points outside of the relegation zone.

Ligue 1

There are two games remaining for each team. PSG is comfortable at the top of the table with 84 points, though Lens has done its best to put pressure on the favorites by winning their last five games. But thanks to a substantial goal-differential advantage it would take an unprecedented collapse from PSG to miss out on their second consecutive league title and fifth in the last six seasons. Pencil them in as champs.

The French league has the most drastic relegation system, as the bottom four teams drop down to Ligue 2. Angers, Ajaccio, and Troyes will all be dropping down for the 2023-24 campaign, leaving the last relegation spot as the only spot for potential remaining drama — it’ll come down to Auxerre (34 points) and Nantes (33).

Nantes is chasing Auxerre, but has arguably have performed better this season, as seen by a superior goal differential (-18 for Nantes and -26 for Auxerre). Considering Auxerre finishes up the season with Lens, it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see those squads flip spots in the final weeks of the season, with Nantes ultimately staying up.

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