The end of the European Football season is upon us today. The Champions League Final is the last competitive game of a long European season that stretches from August to May/June every year. Here’s a look back at the 2018-2019 season
European Football is a monster that engulfs almost 11 months of the year. There are domestic seasons in each country (regular season), domestic Cup competitions (national Cup tournaments), and European Cup tournaments (international Cup tournaments) all throughout the season.
The Different leagues observe promotion and relegation throughout the different domestic league levels; for example, England has four major domestic league levels:
1. Premier League | 2. Championship | 3. League 1 | 4. League 2.
At the end of each season, the top teams from each of the lower leagues move up to the next league, while the bottom teams move down to the lower competition. There are complicating factors that go along with each specific country’s way of observing this, but it adds extra drama for the clubs at the top and the bottom of the standings each year.
The games are enthralling, and the drama that can occur is staggering. This past season is a great example of this! Here’s a look back at all that went down this past European Football Season!
A look back at the 2018-2019 European Football Season:
Top English Leagues
1. Premier League | 2. Championship | 3. League 1 | 4. League 2
England has 20 different domestic leagues, however the attention is mainly paid to the top few leagues. The Premier League is where the money is, and it’s where we have just witnessed a title chase for the ages. Manchester City needed to 14 matches in a row to secure the title over a Liverpool FC side that literally only lost one match all season, that lone loss was to Manchester City. Liverpool FC were literally centimeters away from their first English title in almost 30 years. In Liverpool’s lone loss they had a shot cleared off the goal line; it was 1.12 centimeters from being a goal and from winning Liverpool a title at the end of the season. At the end of the season Manchester City won the League with 98 points, and Liverpool finished 2nd with 97 points!
Teams from the the Championship ,League 1 (shout out to Charlton Athletic for making it back to the Championship and bringing PSN’s own Liam Jenkins joy) and League 2 played amazing seasons as well. England’s leagues have a way of creating great drama!
If you’re interested in following English Soccer in America, you can catch the Premier League on NBC Sports, and other English games on ESPN+.
Top German Leagues
1. Bundesliga | 2. 2. Bundesliga| 3. 3. Liga
Germany has 6 different domestic leagues. But the top three are the ones most people pay attention to. The Bundesliga is the most recognizable league, and their two top teams were in a title race this past season that went down to the last day of the season. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund finished 1st and 2nd respectively. The game that really proved to be the difference maker was Bayern’s 5-0 thrashing of Dortmund back in April. Bayern ended up finishing two points clear to claim the title!
The 2. Bundesliga was entertaining as well, and the 3. Liga showed glimpses of fun football as well!
If you’re from America and interested in following German football more closely, you can catch Bundesliga action on the Fox Sports networks (FS1, FS2, Fox Sports Go). It may be a bit harder to find the lower leagues, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Top Italian Leagues
1. Serie A | 2. Serie B | 3. Serie C
Italy have three professional leagues, of these leagues Serie A is the one most pay attention to. They have some of the most historic clubs in European football, AC Millan, Inter Millan, Napoli, Roma, and of course the old lady herself, Juventus. Juventus have won Serie A the past years in a row, and before this 18-19 season acquired international superstar Christiano Ronaldo, and he delivered a 8th Italian championship. These giants won with ease as they were 11 points clear of second place Napoli.
Serie B and Serie C had some good football, but such is the history of Italian Football, there have been scandals and questions of integrity across Italy’s leagues…
If you’re interested in following Italian football more closely in the states, you can catch every Serie A game on ESPN+, and do another deep dive to find Serie B and Serie C.
Top Spanish Leagues
1. La Liga | 2. Segunda División | 3. Segunda División B
Spain produces some of the most beautiful football in their top three divisions, but in La Liga especially. La Liga is usually a two horse race with Barcelona fighting Real Madrid for the Spanish Crown. However this past season it was Barcelona’s almost from the beginning. International Superstar Messi was a magician for Barca, and Real Madrid felt the sting of not having Christiano Ronaldo. Barcelona won easily by 11 points, while Real Madrid fell to third place watching their cross town rivals Atletico Madrid beat them by eight points.
the Segunda División and Segunda División B provided some drama as well to round out Spain’s top leagues in the 18-19 season as well!
If you are interested in following Spanish Soccer more closely in America you’ll have to use BeIN Sports, or find alternative routes to watch Messi and the other greats in Spain.
Top French Leagues
1. Ligue 1 | 2. Ligue 2 | 3. National
France has three major leagues in their Football system. The one league everyone pays the most attention to is Ligue 1. This is where French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) are king. In 2018-2019 that fact was shown. PSG won Ligue 1 with multiple matches to play; at the end of the season they were champions and ahead of everyone else by 16 points. That’s the biggest point spread across the major European Leagues. The Brazilian Superstar Neymar and upcoming French star Kylian Mbappé led the charge and claimed the top spot in France! Will others like Lyon, Marseille, or Monoco be able to put a damper on PSG next year?
Ligue 2 and National produced some good football as well, but their level of play is not as fun to watch as Ligue 1.
To catch this action in America, you’ll need to be creative or buy BeIN Sports!
Other Leagues in Europe:
There are many other European Leagues you can find out there! If this is something you’d like to dive head first into, search around for other leagues where the beautiful game is showcased!
European Cup Competitions
The Europa League is made up of European Clubs from all over; there’s a group stage which then determines who will be in the knockout rounds to play for the Cup.
The Europa League final was this past Wednesday. It happened to be an all England affair between Chelsea and Arsenal. Chelsea won it all beating Arsenal 4-1 in a lopsided affair.
This European competition is similar to the NIT tournament in College Basketball, while its still important and gives clubs a chance to win something, it’s full of teams that failed to qualify for Champions League or teams who lost in the Champions League group stage.
While it could seem like a downer to be in this competition, the winner of it automatically qualifies for the Champions League for the next season! For many clubs that play in this competition, it’s their only chance to move up to the Super Bowl of European Competition’s.
The Champions League is one of the most popular World Football competition in the world. It composed of the top clubs from the year before from all across Europe. The champions, and top teams from all over Europe are grouped together in groups of four, like a World Cup. They play each team in their group twice, and the top two teams from the groups move on to the knockout rounds. These Knockout rounds feature two leg home-and-away playoffs with aggregate scoring over the two matches determining who moves on. The only single elimination game is the Champions League Final.
This year’s Champions League Final is also an all England affair. Liverpool Football Club take on Tottenham Hotspurs in Madrid this afternoon at 3pm! Both of these teams had a very difficult route to the final. Liverpool needed to win their second leg semifinal over Barcelona 4-0 to advance, and they did just that; Tottenham needed to score three goals in their second leg match to move on to the final, and they did so. The two meet for a chance to win their only trophy pf the season.
This competition is cloaked with glory. If you want to see some great, high stakes, soccer being played tune into this competition!
2019-2020 Season starts in August!
European Football has one of the shortest off-seasons of any sport. The players barely get two months off to rest, and some players get even less than that as they play for their countries in National Team competitions that take place each summer.
We at Philly Sports Network will be following European Football more closely next year, giving monthly updates throughout the season, so stay tuned for those starting in August!
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Mandatory Credit: UEFA.com