Real Madrid is getting closer to winning the LaLiga title.

This is another weekend of football in Europe, and as the season comes to a close, a number of clubs are getting closer to ending it. In Spain on Saturday, Real Madrid beat Mallorca, moving them closer to a second LaLiga title. Barcelona, meanwhile, beat Cadiz to get in good shape before their UEFA Champions League return game against PSG next week.

In Germany, Bayern Munich put off celebrating too soon after Bayer Leverkusen won the Bundesliga with a win over Cologne. In Wales, Wrexham celebrated after getting promoted again, this time to League One.

Now let’s do something.

– Watch La Liga, Bundesliga, and more on ESPN+ (U.S.)

REVIEW OF SATURDAY

After a close win over Mallorca, Madrid is now in the lead for the La Liga title.

When Real Madrid went to Mallorca in LaLiga, they were up against a team that needed points at the bottom of the table and in the middle of a Champions League knockout. It was always going to be a tough game. As it turned out, Aurélien Tchouaméni’s long-range shot—which looked like it took a big deflection—was the difference between the two teams. It gave Madrid an important 1-0 win and another step towards winning the league title.

Given the circumstances of the Manchester City match, it made sense for coach Carlo Ancelotti to make five changes and put Vinícius Júnior, Rodrygo, Toni Kroos, Eduardo Camavinga, and Dani Carvajal on the bench. But they didn’t play well together in the first half, and Madrid only had one half-chance, when Jude Bellingham’s curling shot hit the bar.

Real Madrid moved one step closer to winning La Liga with a 1-0 win over Mallorca thanks to a goal from Aurélien Tchouaméni.
Real Madrid moved one step closer to winning La Liga with a 1-0 win over Mallorca thanks to a goal from Aurélien Tchouaméni.

Things got better in the second half. In the 48th minute, Tchouaméni put Madrid ahead. After an hour, Ancelotti added Camavinga and Vinicius to the team, which made them more dangerous on offence. The Brazil forward almost scored twice right away. Then, with some quick footwork, he set up Federico Valverde, who went around custodian Predrag Rajkovic and shot, but it was saved on the line.

Sergi Darder tried to score on the other end, but keeper Andriy Lunin had to make a huge save to keep Madrid ahead. Éder Militão, who came on as a late replacement in extra time after being hurt, also played for a few minutes, but not enough to suggest that the center-back will start against City on Wednesday.

Finally, Madrid only needed to win this game against Mallorca, who were still hurt from losing the Copa del Rey final on penalties the week before. It was never going to be easy for Madrid. They got it with the help of Tchouameni and some good luck. This is Alex Kirkland
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Thoughts on Saturday from around the leagues

Barça beat Cadiz, which puts them in good shape before the return match against PSG.

Barcelona beat Cádiz 1-0 at the Nuevo Mirandilla on Saturday thanks to a great bicycle kick by João Félix. They are still eight points behind LaLiga leaders Real Madrid before next Sunday’s Clásico at the Santiago Bernabéu.

In the 37th minute, Félix scored the game’s only goal by finishing a corner kick with all of his strength. This gives him 10 goals in all categories this season.

The Portuguese winger also hit the post in the second half, but the flag was raised late for offside. He set up some of Barcelona’s best moments in a game that wasn’t very interesting overall.

He hopes that his play will get him on the team for Barcelona’s 3-2 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their Champions League playoff on Tuesday at the Olympic Stadium.

But the fact that he started here says that he might have to settle for a spot on the bench. Wingers Lamine Yamal and Raphinha were two of eight players who didn’t play in the win in Paris as coach Xavi Hernández made changes.

Even with all of those changes, Barcelona beat Cádiz, who are still in the bottom three, to make it 13 games without losing in all competitions.

For the win over Cádiz, Barcelona had custodian Marc-André ter Stegen to thank as well as Félix. In the second half, Diadie Samassékou was put through a great save by the German goalie. This kept his team’s clean sheet streak in the league at six games.

It’s possible that Barcelona’s return to form came too late to make a run in LaLiga. Following Madrid’s win at Mallorca, they are still eight points behind, and if they don’t win next weekend’s Clásico, their slim title dreams will likely end.

Barça wants to make it to the Champions League semifinals for the first time since 2019; that’s why their game against PSG on Tuesday is so important. — Sam Marsden

Bayern wins a comfortable game against Cologne and delays Leverkusen’s Bundesliga title.

With their backs against the wall, Bayern Munich played like adults against Cologne and beat the team that was in danger of being relegated 2-0 thanks to goals from Raphaël Guerreiro and Thomas Müller. Bayer Leverkusen was almost certain to win the Bundesliga, but Bayern put it off. The team led by Xabi Alonso plays Werder Bremen on Sunday. If they win at BayArena, they will have won their first title.

Thomas Tuchel, the manager of Bayern Munich, was suspended and couldn’t coach from the sidelines. He made a lot of changes to the team for the game against Cologne because he seemed to want to rest some players before the second leg of Bayern’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal match against Arsenal in a few days.

Still, the record German winners didn’t want to lose another league game, so they made it hard for Cologne to breathe for most of the game. Like many other teams this season, Cologne was mostly looking for chances to attack on the break. For most of the first hour, fast-paced striker Sargis Adamyan was standing near the offside line. The Armenian, who is 30 years old, had two early chances to hurt Bayern but failed to score.

From that point on, Bayern took full control and waited calmly for Cologne’s defence to make more and more mistakes. Guerreiro scored the game-winning goal in the 65th minute, off of a corner kick by Joshua Kimmich. Müller then put the game out of reach in extra time by taking advantage of a mistake by Jacob Christensen and Luca Waldschmidt. Bayern would have needed a strong game like the one they had on Saturday a lot more often this season, but it’s clear that Cologne isn’t playing their best right now.

While Cologne hopes to stay in the 2. Bundesliga, Bayer Leverkusen, a rival team in the area, is about to have the best season in the club’s long history. Their game against Bremen on Sunday is the most important one. — Nick Eckner Constantin
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Americans living abroad: Reyna does well in her first Forest start

Gio Reyna finally got to start his first game for Nottingham Forest, the team he is on loan from Borussia Dortmund. It took a while, but it finally happened. The USMNT attacker played eight games for the Tricky Trees this season but didn’t get to start until Saturday against Wolves. He did not disappoint manager Nuno Espírito Santo as he set up Morgan Gibbs-White’s equaliser from a corner kick, which led to a 2-2 draw for the hosts.

At this point, Forest will take any point they can get. There are five games left in the season, and Reyna and his team are only one point above the relegation zone. Luton Town is currently in last place, with five games left in the season.

In Italy, Weston McKennie couldn’t give Juventus any spark in their scoreless Derby della Mole match against Torino. Juventus is still in great shape to make it into the Champions League next season. Sergiño Dest and Malik Tillman both started to help PSV beat Vitesse 6-0, which moved them closer to winning the Eredivisie title. Tillman scored the second goal for Peter Bosz’s team, which made the win even more satisfying. —Rosas Roberto
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News of the day

  • Today’s newsAfter beating Luton Town 5-1, Manchester City moved to the top of the Premier League table for now. Erling Haaland scored his 20th league goal of the season in the win. With six games played, Pep Guardiola’s team has 73 points, two points ahead of both Arsenal and Liverpool in the title race. If Arsenal and Liverpool win their games on Sunday, they can pass City. Luton Town is 18th and only one point away from safety, putting them at risk of going down.
  • There was a lot of excitement in Germany after Marcel Sabitzer scored from a penalty kick against Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday but was not given a hat trick. The penalty kick was cancelled by the video assistant referee (VAR). It turned out that referee Florian Badstübner thought Omlin touched the ball before he tackled Karim Adeyemi, which meant the penalty wasn’t valid. They won 2-1 in the end.

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And finally, on Saturday …

League One says “Welcome to Wrexham!” on Saturday. The Welsh club run by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney has been promoted to the third level of English football for the first time since 2005. They did this by beating Forest Green Rovers 6-0 with two games to spare in the EFL League Two season.

Technically, they can still beat Stockport County, the team above them, and win League Two. However, Wrexham is still working towards their goal of moving up the English football pyramid and finally making it to the Premier League, which they see as the promised land.

Still, both Reynolds and McElhenney are proud of their Welsh club, and they used social media to say so.

Wrexham has been promoted from the National League to League Two and now to League One. If they get promoted again, they could play in the Premier League in 2026. There is still a long way to go, but the dream is still alive. Thanks, Rojas

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