“Fulham” is back in the APL, in Ligue 1 there could be a Paris derby
The soccer season is nearing a denouement. Over the next month our attention will be fixed on the decisive battles in the Champions League and Europa League, we will follow the championship races in the English Premier League and Italian Serie A, savor the finals of the national cups. But the important events are not only taking place on the top floor: in the second divisions of the major leagues the teams are fighting for the right to play in the strongest leagues of their countries next season. “Fulham” has already officially returned to the APL, and “fizzslotsnews.com” will talk about those who are going to repeat the success of the “dachshunds”.
Fulham returns to the Premier League after a year-long absence, the ‘cottagers’ are competing with Norwich for the title of England’s top soccer elevator. “Fulham was caught in a string of promotions and departures in the 2017/18 season when it went to the Premier League after four seasons in the Championships. Since then, the club from London has changed divisions once a year. This time around, the Cottagers are being dragged upstairs by Portuguese Marco Silva, while Fulham’s co-creator of promotion two years ago, Scott Parker, will almost certainly bring Bournemouth back to the APL.
The Cherries spent two years out of the Premier League, where they spent five seasons under Eddie Howe, who now coaches Newcastle. Bournemouth are likely to win a second straight trip to the APL, with another ticket to an exciting playoffs that has yet to be determined. Huddersfield, Luton, Nottingham and Sheffield United are currently in the top six.
Millwall, Blackburn, Middlesbrough, Queens Park Rangers and Coventry have not given up hope of making the playoffs. My sympathies in this fight are on Nottingham’s side. “The Forest are two-time Champions Cup winners under Brian Clough, Teddy Sheringham and Roy Keane played for the Foresters and made some noise in the current FA Cup. Nottingham haven’t played in the Premiership since 1998/99 and have made the play-offs three times but always poorly. It’s time to come back. Who do you want to see in the APL?
The promotion system in Spanish Segunda is the same as in England: two teams qualify for the Primera directly, the third through sixth places qualify for the playoffs. Eibar, who finished 20th in the top division a year ago, leads the table, while Almeria, who last played at the top level in 2014/15, are in second place.
Incidentally, this team was lifted to the Primera 15 years ago by Unai Emery, who has since worked with Spartak, PSG and Arsenal, won the Europa League four times and is about to bleed Liverpool in the Champions League semifinals. Valladolid, Tenerife, Girona and Oviedo are currently in the playoffs. However, Valladolid, the club of the phenomenon Ronaldo, is in third place with two points behind the leader, so there is still a fight for direct tickets.
From Serie B the top two teams are sent up, but the playoff system is more complicated: the preliminary round includes teams from 5-8 places, the winners of two pairs go to the third and fourth teams in the semifinals, and the bravest share a ticket in the final. The struggle at the top of the table is extremely curious: Cremonese (66 points) occupies the first place, followed by Lecce (65), Monza (64), Benevento and Pisa (63 each), Brescia (62). “Ascoli and Frosinone will try to stay in the playoff zone.
For reference, Parma with Gianluigi Buffon is only 13th. As for the contenders for promotion, we will single out Cremonese and Monza. The Serie B leader has not been in Serie A since the mid-90s, and Monza has never been. It is worth recalling that this club was owned in 2018 by Silvio Berlusconi, who had owned AC Milan for 30 years in the past, who had achieved great success under his watch. Galliani is also around, and yes, head coach Giovanni Stroppa has played for the rossoneri in the past.
The teams, relegated last season, are heading back to the Bundesliga, with Schalke (56 points) ahead of Werder (54) on the previous tour. On the heels of them comes St. Pauli (53). “Pirates” from Hamburg had only one season in the last quarter century in the first Bundesliga and want to repeat that experience. Everything is in their hands, because there is a face-to-face match with Schalke ahead, and the third place leaves a chance, though they will need to beat the 16th Bundesliga team in the joints (currently it is Stuttgart).
Finally got to France. Toulouse and Ajaccio are leading in Ligue 2, and they are not going to give up their place in Ligue 1 to anyone. “Auxerre, FC Paris and Sochaux are ready to go the hard way, with nothing threatening their playoff entry: the gap between fifth-placed Sochaux and sixth-placed Le Havre is 11 points. And the system is as follows: the fifth team in Ligue 2 plays with the fourth, the winner goes to the third, and already the best of the best meets with the 18th club in Ligue 1 (now it is “Clermont”).
Whoever passes all these tests will play in the elite division. It would be curious to see Ligue 1 soccer club Paris, because this would mean the appearance in France of the first real derby between teams from the same city – Paris Saint-Germain vs. The last time Ligue 1 witnessed such a derby was more than three decades ago, in the 1989/90 season, which was the last for Paris Rassing in the elite. “Racings were eliminated, but fought desperately in the derby with PSG (5th final place) – a 2-1 win and a 2-2 draw.