What’s one to do until the highly anticipated Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United (Saturday May 28 btw)? All the big European league winners have been virtually decided over the past couple weekends, and in each case there’s been little drama–the champions have each been atop their respective tables for some time. Manchester United basically wrapped up the English Premier League with their dominating victory over Chelsea on Sunday. In Spain, Barcelona need just a single point this afternoon in their match against Levante to clinch the title (though really they clinched it with their draw a few weeks ago with a draw at the Bernabeu). And despite a bit of wobble over the past few weeks, Borussia Dortmund finally did wrap up the Bundesliga crown.
Well, you could finally turn your attention across the Channel/Pyrenees/Alps/Maginot to France, where surprisingly Lille has put some space between them and perennial powers Marseille and Lyon.
Via a SkySports writeup:
A 3-2 loss to fellow high-fliers Lyon on Sunday put another sizeable dent in Marseille’s hopes of defending their Ligue 1 crown. They now sit seven points adrift of table-topping Lille with time running out on the 2010/11 campaign.
Marseille do have a game in hand on the leaders, though, and Deschamps insists his side will not be giving up without a fight.
“Can we retain our title? We have only taken one point from the last two matches, so that hasn’t helped,” he said.
“But there are still 12 points to play for and it is still possible….
Marseille play host to Brest on Wednesday and, with Lille not in action, will be looking to close to within four points of the summit with three games remaining.
Lille–the full name of the club is Lille Olympique Sporting Club Lille Métropole, and hence they are known as LOSC (and also as Les Dogues–The Mastiffs) last won the Ligue 1 in 1953-54, and spent much of the next few decades down in Ligue 2. But they’ve been doing well over the past decade, highlighted by a couple appearances in the Champions League following top 3 finishes domestically. The name we’ve been hearing from the current squad is 20-year old Belgian “starlet” Eden Hazard, who may leave Lille this summer for one of the really big clubs elsewhere on the Continent (or in England).
Marseille and Brest kick off in just over an hour, so you could tune in for that one. For an idea of who to watch for on Marseille’s squad, take a look at our post prior to their Champions League Round of 16 match against Manchester United back in March. That match–along with a handful of additional Ligue 1 fixtures–are available for streaming on foxsoccer.tv.
Or you could tune in to see Barça visit Levante UD and presumably celebrate on the pitch at Estadi Ciutat de València (Levante Unión Deportiva being the second team en la ciudad de València; the first, València Club de Futbol, plays of course at El Camp de Mestalla).