With the Bundesliga finally returning on January 20th – some three weeks after some of Europe’s other top leagues – European football is finally back at full strength. Germany’s top flight got underway with RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich at the Red Bull Arena, a fixture that finished 1-1. Since then, there have been back-to-back late winners for Borussia Dortmund, while Bayern’s lead at the summit of the division has been cut to just three points.
It will come as no surprise to any of you that OddsChecker, which compares football odds and offers, still makes the Bavarians the odds-on favourites to make it 11 titles in a row this season, despite their recent slip-up in Eastern Germany.
While the recent FIFA World Cup was incredible, it did leave a void that only elite-level European football can fill. Thanks to the midseason break which accommodated the showdown in Qatar, most of the ongoing seasons are currently at their halfway point. As such, we thought it would be the perfect time to see how the title race in each of Europe’s top five leagues are shaping up.
While we’re on the topic of the Bundesliga, we may as well head to Germany first. As we mentioned, Bayern Munich are the current leaders at the division’s summit. They’re three points clear of their nearest rivals and the country’s surprise package, Union Berlin. The Berliners in second and Wolfsburg in seventh are separated by just four points. So while Bayern may once again run away with the league in the second half of the campaign, the battle for European football could be one for the ages.
Prior to the 2022/23 season getting underway, did anyone think that Arsenal would be top of the Premier League in January? We certainly didn’t. The Gunners had threatened to break into the top four last season, however, two defeats in their last three games saw Champions League football slip through the fingers and instead get claimed by archrivals Tottenham Hotspur.
This season, the Gunners sit five points clear of reigning champions Manchester City with a game in hand. And with the pair due to face off in February, that gap could extend further. Pep Guardiola’s chasing Blues still remain the favourites however, and with Erling Haaland firing on all cylinders, it’s clear to see why.
Napoli have threatened to challenge for the Scudetto countless times in recent years, however, as the second half of the campaign gets going, they tend to fall away. Things seem different at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona this season, however. The Azzurri are playing some scintillating football and are currently a whopping 12 points clear of reigning champions Milan in second place. Luciano Spalletti’s side just laid down a marker with a 5-1 drubbing of Juventus, and their home faithful will be hoping their purple patch continues.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are the perennial protagonists in Spain, and this season is no different. The Catalonians currently sit atop of La Liga, three points clear of their rivals from the capital. The Blaugrana dropped into the Europa League for the second consecutive season before Christmas, and that could help them in their fight to lift a first top-flight trophy in four years. Los Blancos are still competing on three fronts this term and may have to decide whether to prioritise the league or the Champions League should the fight for the crown extend into the campaign’s latter months.
Paris Saint-Germain are used to running away with the Ligue 1 crown, similarly to Bayern in Germany. There have been some slip-ups from the Parisians in recent years, however, notably getting pipped to the crown by Monaco in 2017 and Lille in 2021. This season, the club from the French capital has competition once again.
Lens are just three points behind the reigning champions and beat them on New Year’s Day, with Przemysław Frankowski, Ikoma-Loïs Openda, and Alexis Claude-Maurice scoring in a 3-1 victory. PSG would then lose to Rennes a fortnight later, and with Marseille lurking two points further back, Lionel Messi and co. should be careful that another title doesn’t slip away from them.
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