Bye Bye Wolfsburg? | Case of the Mondays
The European seasons wrapped up over the weekend; that titles were won, competition positions were set, and relegation was sorted. Here's who pulled the short end of those sticks.
The Premier League final day was a terrible mix of hope and heartbreak for Arsenal fans. Though they went in with mediated expectations, knowing that an already-relegated Middlesbrough would need to pull off a miracle against Liverpool in order to catapult the Gunners into 4th place — but since Newcastle did the same thing to Tottenham last year, it didn’t seem completely impossible. And then, for a solid 44 minutes in which Liverpool were held scoreless, it seemed actually possible.However, Liverpool went on to win, and so although Arsenal did too it was in vain. They finished the year in 5th, one point off the coveted Champions League spot; instead, they’ll play in next year’s Europa League. Will this failure mean the end for Arsene Wenger? Will Arsenal finally make it past the round of 16 in European competition?
What seemed certain after Real Madrid won their game in hand last week became reality on Sunday, when Real Madrid beat Malaga 2-0 to raise the La Liga title — albeit for the first time in five years. Like Arsenal, Barcelona’s own victory on the day was bittersweet in that it ultimately meant nothing.Instead, Barcelona finished in measly second place, and they might have to watch their rivals go on to win the double. They’re planning on announcing their new manager next week, so that might give fans a reason to start looking forward to next season already — either that, or a giant bid for Liverpool’s Coutinho.
Everything was at stake for both Wolfsburg and HSV this weekend. It was tense for the entire match until Hamburg, who have never been relegated from the Bundesliga, saved themselves with a header in the 88th minute that sent Wolfsburg into the relegation play-off match against Eintracht Braunschweig.This might come as a huge shock to those who remember Wolfsburg’s recent successes: their title win 8 seasons ago and their Champions League quarterfinal finish last season.The Bundesliga relegation play-offs span two legs, with Wolfsburg at home on Thursday and then in Eintracht on Monday. They only have 120 minutes to save their season — well, unless it goes to extra time and penalties.
TOLUCA & CLUB TIJUANA
The Liguilla final is set, and neither Toluca nor Club Tijuana are in it.Tigres dominated Club Tijuana 4-0 over both legs, 2-0 in each; not terribly surprisingly, considering that Xolos have only beaten Tigres one out of the seven times the two have met at Tijuana’s Estadio Caliente, and considering that Tigres have looked absolutely unstoppable throughout the Liguilla so far. Toluca fell to Chivas more narrowly, with both legs ending 1-1 but Chivas going through on their better regular season position.Well, there’s always next season.