The Euro Preview: Barcelona aim to finish season undefeated

Barcelona could finish the season undefeated, while Napoli continues to stay ahead of Juventus in Italy and second place remains up for grabs in Germany.

La Liga

When Barcelona take to the field at home Sunday against Getafe, they will be attempting to do more than just win (and pad their lead atop the table). They will also be looking to extend their league unbeaten run, possibly en route to an unbeaten season.

Barcelona’s 1-1 draw last weekend in a heated derby against Espanyol helped the club extend their unbeaten streak in the league to 22 matches. The draw helped the team surpass the previous record set under coach Pep Guardiola during the 2009-10 season.

Under coach Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona have more hurdles to overcome. Valverde is aiming for more records, including improving upon Luis Enrique’s team record of 39 matches without a loss achieved during the 2015-16 season. The biggest knock against this Barcelona team was that they won games, especially early in the season, without playing well. At the same time, their biggest rival, Real Madrid, have nothing more to play for this season but the the Champions League.

Barca’s record also means they ended the first round of league matches with 51 points, the third highest total ever in a top flight consisting of 20 teams.

Serie A

Napoli host Lazio on Saturday in what could be a tricky encounter for the league leaders, while Juventus, just a point behind them, play the previous day versus Fiorentina in Florence. It could very well be one of those weekends where both teams lose and nothing changes in the standings.

Both teams are coming off fabulous performances against weak opposition. Napoli defeated last-place Benevento 2-0 on Sunday, while Juventus routed Sassuolo 7-0 thanks to a hat-trick by Gonzalo Higuain.

Winners of the last six league titles, Juventus remain favored by many despite being a point behind. Napoli, meanwhile, haven’t won a Scudetto since the 1989-90 season when Diego Maradona played for them. In an interview earlier this week, former Argentina and Inter Milan star Esteban Cambiasso said “the people are on Napoli’s side.”

“Napoli believe, not just because of the points and being first, but because of their play,” Cambiasso told Sky Italia. “They’re admired by everyone and they create sympathy, not dislike, not least because they’re dueling with Juventus who have won for so many years. They go forward with a smile and their game, and the people are on Napoli’s side.”


Bayern Munich are all the rage in Germany (they remain in first place with an 18-point lead over second-place Bayer Leverkusen) , but Borussia Dortmund’s rise in the standings is starting to get some attention.

Dortmund, who play Hamburger SV on Saturday, appear reinvigorated after the brace scored last weekend by Michy Batshuayi in his debut, a 3-2 win against Koln. Batshuayi, who arrived from Chelsea on loan during the January transfer period while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang jetted off to Arsenal, said this was just the start.

“I am very happy with my two goals, but of course the most important thing … is the win,” Batshuayi told German Eurosport. “It was the first game, it was not easy. I’m just happy about these three points. We want to climb as high as possible in the table and try to win every match.”

It was Dortmund’s first league win since December and catapulted them from seventh to third. They’re currently fighting for second place alongside three other teams: Bayer, RB Leipzig and Schalke 04. It’s a heated contest that should go on until the end of the season.