We are rapidly approaching the end of most European soccer leagues. With so much on the line, the matches take on a whole new level of intensity and meaning as teams try to end their seasons on a high note.
From the bottom of the English Premier League, to a derby in Istanbul, here are a few games worth keeping an extra eye this weekend.
Hamburger SV – FC Schalke 04 (German Bundesliga Gameweek 34):
HSV is fighting for survival at the bottom of the Bundesliga after a truly disappointing season for the fans of the north German side. HSV has been in the Bundesliga since its foundation in 1963, and has been in the top flight of German soccer since the end of World War I. But with only 32 points in 33 games, they find themselves in 17th place and in danger of being relegated.
A win against Schalke 04 is a must on Saturday, in addition to some other results going their way. Schalke sits in fifth and will take part in next season’s Europa League.
SD Eibar – Cordoba CF (Spanish La Liga Gameweek 38):
Eibar has a golden opportunity to salvage the season and stay up in La Liga next season. The team currently sits in the relegation zone in 18th place, but they take on last placed Cordoba who has been relegated for a long time already.
If Eibar grabs a win over Cordoba, they will have 35 points. The two teams above them are Deportivo and Granada, both on 34 points. But they both are playing tough competition. Deportivo are traveling to take on champions Barcelona, and Granada are at home against third placed Atletico Madrid.
Hull City – Manchester United (English Premier League Gameweek 38):
Hull has a slim lifeline to stay up in the Premier League. The rules are clear, Hull must win over Manchester United and Newcastle must lose or draw against West Ham. United have won seven straight meetings between the two sides, and the game earlier in the season ended in a 3-0 United win after goals by Chris Smalling, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.
Hull is on a three-game losing streak, and the Tigers’ last win came at home against Liverpool in late April. Nikica Jelavic and Dame N’Doye will need to find a way to score on David de Gea who has been in excellent form in net for United.
Newcastle United – West Ham (English Premier League Gameweek 38):
Newcastle has been embarrassing for the latter part of the season. The team has been in a free fall since January, only winning two out of 18 league games. Newcastle are now dangling right above the relegation zone, and to be safe and avoid relegation they will need to find a way to win over West Ham on Sunday.
Seeing how terrible they have been, odds are in West Ham’s favor, but since Hull is playing Manchester United, they might be saved even if they lose. All Premier League games are on at the same time on Sunday, so be ready to split screen several games at once.
Galatasaray – Besiktas (Turkish Super Lig Gameweek 33):
Galatasaray sits on top of the Turkish Super Lig with two games remaining. On Sunday they will host third-placed Besiktas in a hot Istanbul derby. These games are among the most intense affairs in European soccer, and the Turk Telekom Arena will be a boiling kettle come game day.
Galatasaray has a three-point cushion down to second-placed Fenerbahce, and seven points down to Besiktas. The league’s top two scorers will go head-to-head as Besiktas’ Demba Ba has 18 goals on the season, and Galatasaray’s Burak Yilmaz has 16. If you don’t usually follow the Turkish league, this is a great game to get a taste of how intense it can be.