5 teams that need a strong March run

Neymar Jr, (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Neymar Jr, (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images) /

Soccer in March brings its own madness. For teams like Tottenham, PSG and Borussia Dortmund, this month could make or break their season.

We’re three months into the new decade, and a few clubs are already on high alert. By the time April comes, these teams will need to set themselves straight. Here is who needs to conquer March or risk a downward spiral.

West Ham

Had the Hammers somehow won at Anfield after holding a 2-1 lead in the game, they might not be on this list. But alas, hundreds of millions of Euros were poured into this squad to fight for European places only to see themselves in 18th.

West Ham haven’t won since the Jan. 1, and now host a Southampton side 10 points above them in 12th. It’s seen Manuel Pellegrini sacked, signings like Sebastian Heller flop and fans showing their displeasure towards the ownership group. David Moyes is trying his best to save the club, but he’ll need a miracle with results this month.

After hosting the Saints on Saturday, West Ham open March with a trip to Arsenal. They host Wolverhampton after that before ending March at Tottenham, each game its own daunting task. It’s a litmus test for the club, the players, fans and many more. West Ham had visions of competing with the aforementioned clubs at the top half of the table but could see themselves staring harder into the barrel of relegation.

Paris St. Germain

There is only one reason why the French giants are mentioned in this: the Champions League. On March 11, Paris St. Germain host Borussia Dortmund down 2-1 on aggregate at the Parc des Princes. PSG simply have to win.

Forget the mumbo-jumbo of Ligue 1, they’re currently first 13 points clear of the chasing pack. They simply cannot afford to be bounced out at the Round of 16 yet again. Last year saw them eliminated on away goals to Manchester United after winning the first leg 2-0. The year before saw them handily beaten by eventual winner Real Madrid, and 2016-17 gave us La Remontada.

It’s been a decade since PSG’s ownership group poured in around a billion dollars to this project. And while it’s yielded much domestic success, it’s also brought in disappointment elsewhere. Signing stars such as Edinson Cavani, Neymar, Mbappe and others showed their financial power, but the lack of flexing against Europe’s elite clubs means none of it matters. Those same stars will be looking elsewhere for the only thing eluding them and the club: Champions League glory.

Borussia Dortmund

Here’s a thought: where would this club be at without Erling Haaland’s goals? The Norwegian has scored in every game for Dortmund aside from one. The tremendous form carries into what looks like a formidable month of March.

After Freiburg to close out February, Dortmund go to Monchengladbach in a battle of top-four title contenders. Then comes the visit to the Parc des Princes for the second leg against Paris St. Germain. After that, Dortmund host the Ruhr derby against Schalke before ending the month at Wolfsburg.

Dortmund are perennial title challengers, but the rise of RB Leipzig and the quality of other teams have made it difficult for them to overtake Bayern. Much of it is their own doing, of course, Lucien Favre is on the hot seat. Despite the smooth transitions of Haaland and Giovanni Reyna, the club will need to overachieve in order to keep themselves in thick of the Bundesliga and Champions League.


The wheels are slowly coming off for Jose Mourinho and Spurs, they’ve lost their last two games and have a thin squad to work with. The transition has not always been fluid so far, and March will provide stiff tests.

They begin March hosting Wolves, who are on the up after dispatching Espanyol in the Europa League. March also brings the FA Cup, so the squad will further be tested with a home game against Norwich City as Mourinho looks to go on a cup run. A trip to Burnley will make it three games in the space of the first seven days of March.

Oh, and then comes the visit to Germany to face RB Leipzig who hold a 1-0 aggregate lead. Mourinho was brought in to do what Mauricio Pochettino failed to do last season, deliver Champions League glory. A quick exit to Leipzig would sour things around north London.

Spurs finish the month with home games against Manchester United and West Ham. So, six games in the month of March for a Spurs squad already depleted and tired. It’s a very tough ask, younger players may need to fill voids while also maintaining their standing in the league table.


It’s been an up and down season for Lyon. The French club are six points from a European spot in Ligue 1, and are trying to make the most of their Champions League run after beating Juventus in the first leg 1-0. March will likely sink or swim their chances of making trips abroad next season.

Lyon host Saint-Etienne Sunday in one of Europe’s most underrated but hostile derbies, Etienne beat Lyon back in October. After that, they’ll host Paris St. Germain in the Coupe de France semifinals, a chance for a cup for Rudi Garcia. Next is a trip to Lille, who occupy the fourth and final European spot.

The tough games keep coming as they host Stade de Reims, both are level on 37 points with three other clubs — Montpellier, Nice and Nantes. In fact, the fourth spot and 14th spot — Angers, are separated by just 10 points. There’s going to be a lot of moving in the middle of the Ligue 1 table. Lyon then go to Turin for the second leg against Juventus, before finishing the month at Stade Rennais who are in third place — the final Champions League qualification spot.