It’s less then a month of European competition left and only a couple of the most important questions regarding top leagues on Old Continent remain open. You can find hints to those questions here, in another episode of “Europa League”, OneHash’s weekly Power Ranking with the best clubs affiliated with UEFA.
- Is there anyone who can stop FC Barcelona?
- How powerful boys Ajax’s boys may be?
- Why Bayern will maintain dominance over Bundesliga?
- FC Barcelona (-)
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Barca remained on the top of our list. Ernesto Valverde’s men are only three matches from third treble in club’s history. They already clinched LaLiga’s title and now they have the Champions League’s final at their fingerprints. In the 1st leg of semi-finals Barcelona won with Liverpool 3-0 at home, being an opposite of its old self. Last Wednesday at Camp Nou guests played football but hosts won football. More importantly, hosts had Leo Messi.
If you track “Europe Throne” on a regular basis, then you know that long ago we lost words to describe things that Argentinian do on the pitch. After his two goals against Liverpool - and especially 30-yard free-kick - we’re more speechless than ever. So maybe we will give a voice to others.
2. Ajax (one up)
There are only two teams in Europe that still chase their dreams of continental treble. The one is famous Barcelona with Leo Messi in maybe the form of his life, the other is the club that began its Champions League’s campaign in July, starting with second qualifying round. You can see the slight difference, right?
Ajax Amsterdam won Dutch cup on Sunday but for Erik ten Hag and his youngsters it’s only the beginning of the road. “We are not yet satisfied. It is not enough. This fuels hunger. Now we are going to enjoy it for 24 hours, but after that, the focus will be on Wednesday” - Ajax’s coach said after beating 4-0 Willem II. On Wednesday team will face Tottenham in 2nd leg of Champions League’s semi-finals, defending a 1-0 lead from White Hart Lane. Furthermore, Ten Hag’s boys have only two matches to reclaim Eredivise’s title. In our opinion Ajax is capable of everything. If, by some miracle, you’re still unconvinced by this team, then just watch this video. And say no more.
3. Liverpool (one down)
Most points won in all campaign of the Premier League’s 27-year-history?
I 2017-2018 Manchester City - 100 points.
II 2004-2005 Chelsea - 95 points.
III 2018-2019 Liverpool - 94 points, with one more game to play and high probability of not winning the league!
The Reds still count on Manchester City’s rivals, hoping that Leicester City on Monday and Brighton on Sunday will upset reigning champs. The hope, though, seems forlorn.
With the Champions League Liverpool’s situation looks similar. It’s hard to recall Camp Nou’s guests who looked as splendidly as Juergen Klopp’s men and still achieved nothing there. 3-0 defeat in Barcelona was a disaster but injuries of key players are kiss of death. Both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino will miss second-leg tie due to health problems. Practically everything seems that Liverpool's season will end on Tuesday. Point out a better team in football’s history that as well end up with nothing. We’ll wait.
4. Manchester City (one up)
In Premier League’s 27-year-history only Manchester United and Chelsea managed to win back-to-back trophies. Will Manchester City join this duo? Everything will be decided in two matches. At first The Citizens will host Leicester City on Monday, at second they will travel to Brighton on Sunday. This team hasn’t lost any Premier League’s point since 29th January, winning 12 domestic matches during that run.
Pep Guardiola may call Liverpool “one of two biggest opponents he ever faced”, but Spaniard still has everything in his hands. By everything we mean literally everything, at least in England. City already won Carabao Cup and is inches away from titles in both the Premier League and FA Cup. City’s domestic treble might be bittersweet due to Champions League’s failure, though treble is still a treble. Don’t forget that.
5. Tottenham (one down)
After three 1-0 defeats in just seven days, The Spurs now have only two games over five days to rescue what’s lost. On Wednesday they will face Ajax in 2nd leg of Champions League’s semi-finals, on Sunday they will host Everton at the Premier League’s finale. Mauricio Pochettino’s fourth-in-Premier League side is still likely to re-qualify for the Champions League and can even upset Ajax in Amsterdam but this squad clearly runs on empty.
“We must stay calm and strike first against Ajax” - team’s midfielder Moussa Sissoko told “The Guardian”. We recommend Tottenham’s players exactly the same but while the wishes are one thing, reality is another.
6. Bayern (two up)
Four-point difference with six to play - Bayern is really close to another domestic glory. Borussia Dortmund dropped points at Werder Bremen while Bavarians beat 3-1 Hannover 96 and now the title is practically sealed. Bayern play against RB Leipzig on Saturday, win on that day will give Bavarians seventh straight Meisterschale. Seventh straight! That’s what you called a domestic dominance.
Other affairs from Munich: club prepares to life without Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. It was confirmed that veteran duo will leave the club after this season, undoubtedly ending an era in football’s history. Thanks for the memories, “Robbery”.
7. Juventus (one down)
The Old Lady slacked off at the end of the season. Another moment of Cristiano Ronaldo’s genius was needed to deny Torino their first win away to Juventus for 24 years. The two sides drew 1-1 on Friday in Serie A. City’s derby showed the biggest problem that Juventus nowadays struggles with: lousy and shaky defense.
That’s why Turin’s representatives seize an opportunity to strengthen the squad. Genoa president already claimed that team’s promising defender Cristian Romero will join Juventus after the season but young Argentinian is not the only name on Juve’s list. The others are Paul Pogba, Isco and Matthijs de Ligt. This summer should be very hot in Turin.
8. Chelsea (new entry)
Combination of Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Watford and weekend’s failures of Manchester United & Arsenal gave The Blues place in next year’s Champions League. Chelsea moved into third place and can still end a season of many disappointments in the Premier League’s top three. Only Sunday’s game at Leicester distances The Blues from unexpected domestic podium.
This podium, however, may be not that unexpected if we take notice of Eden Hazard’s form. Belgian was truly in a class of his own this Premier League’s season, providing 16 goals and 15 assists. Apparently, his time at Stamford Bridge came to an end. Just check this footage that hit social media by storm on Monday.
9. Atalanta (new entry)
Team from Bergamo hasn’t lost since 12 matches but the results are one thing and the style is another. Fabio Capello compared Atalanta’s brave football to the one that Ajax plays the whole season. Players of both teams often decide do one-on-one battles all over the pitch. They embrace that risk and they win matches due to that risk.
After 3-1 win against Rome on Sunday, Atlanta found itself on course to take Italy’s final Champions League’s spot and to make the impossible. The likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar could soon be heading to small Italian city of Bergamo. Atalanta’s has three Serie A matches left to chase its European dreams, starting with Genoa on Saturday.
10. To fill
Nothing has changed since last week. We still wait for the European team that will earn a spot in the top ten.