European Football: Triple Woe For Stuttgart And Stories You May Have Missed


    Club Brugge celebrate winning the Belgian championship
    Club Brugge have now won the Belgian championship 14 times

    Barcelona kept Real Madrid at bay to retain the La Liga title as silverware was dished out around Europe.

    There were also celebrations for Bayern Munich, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic was lauded in Paris and Gonzalo Higuain broke a long-standing Serie A scoring record.

    But what else happened in Europe this weekend as further champions were crowned and others didn’t have it quite as good?

    BBC Sport rounds up the stories you might have missed.

    Brugge back in the champions’ club

    Club Brugge are Belgian champions for the first time in 11 years thanks to a 4-0 hammering of title rivals Anderlecht.

    There are still two games to go in the play-off system used to determine the title winners.

    But Brugge’s victory on Sunday means Michel Preud’homme’s side are now six points clear and, thanks to finishing top of the regular-season standings, cannot be overhauled.

    Top scorer Abdoulay Diaby scored twice within five minutes in the first half, before Hans Vanaken and Timmy Simons added goals after the break to spark Brugge’s title celebrations.

    Hat-trick heroes Benfica

    Benfica's Nico Gaitan celebrates his goal with Jonas
    Nicolas Gaitan and Jonas both scored as Benfica won a 12th successive league game to secure a 35th league title


    Benfica secured a third successive Portuguese title as they held off the challenge of Lisbon rivals Sporting on a fluctuating final day.

    The defending champions were two points ahead of Sporting going into Sunday’s closing round of games.

    Sporting threatened to take the title thanks to a better head-to-head record after they scored their opening goal in a 4-0 win over Braga to go top of the table briefly.

    But that situation lasted just three minutes as Benfica then went in front against Nacional through captain Nicolas Gaitan, before going on to complete a 4-1 victory.

    Jonas scored the second goal to take the Brazilian’s total for the season to 32 as he finished as the league’s leading scorer.

    Gaitan added the third and Pizzi the fourth as Benfica, who at one point trailed Sporting by eight points, secured the title with a record number of points and club record total of 87 goals for an 18-team division.

    Gomez secures Turkey triumph

    Mario Gomez
    Mario Gomez is on loan at Besiktas from Fiorentina


    Besiktas are the new Turkish champions after they sealed their first title since 2009 with a 3-1 win over Osmanlispor.

    Their victory keeps them six points clear of second-placed Fenerbahce, who beat Genclerbirligi 2-1, with one game to go in Turkey’s Super League.

    Germany international Mario Gomez, 30, fittingly led Besiktas to their 14th championship success as the league’s leading scorer added his 26th goal of the season.

    On-loan defender Marcelo had earlier scored twice for Besiktas, who last month moved into a new 42,000-seater stadium.

    Bad lucks come in threes for Stuttgart

    Relegated Stuttgart player
    Stuttgart won the Bundesliga title as recently as 2007


    Stuttgart has enjoyed better days than the finale of the regular season in Germany as the city suffered three relegations.

    The senior team – three times Bundesliga champions – ended a 39-year stay in the top flight as they were relegated.

    It also spelled the end of head coach Jurgen Kramny’s spell in charge.

    Kramny, 44, replaced Michael Zorniger in November, but will revert to his former job as coach of the reserves, who finished bottom of the German third division.

    They therefore drop into regional football, along with Stuttgart Kickers, who were relegated after finishing third from bottom of the third tier.

    Mixed finish for Fletcher

    Steven Fletcher
    Steven Fletcher has scored four Premier League goals for Sunderland this season


    Steven Fletcher hasn’t pulled up many trees in France but marked what may be his last Ligue 1 game for Marseille in eventful fashion as he scored and missed a penalty.

    Fletcher’s loan move from Sunderland was one of the more surprising January transfer deals and the Scot made an early impression with a cup goal on his first start.

    That was it, though, until the former Hibernian, Burnley and Wolves striker, 29, claimed his first league goal in his 12th appearance in a 1-1 draw at bottom club Troyes in Saturday’s final round of league fixtures.

    There was to be no happy ending as Fletcher then missed a spot-kick inside the last 10 minutes, but he has a chance of salvation and a possible big finish in next weekend’s Coupe de France final against Paris St-Germain, who are seeking to complete a domestic treble.

    Travel-sick Sevilla

    Sevilla defender Timothee Kolodziejczak
    Timothee Kolodziejczak was sent off but will be eligible to face Liverpool in the Europa League final


    Sevilla obviously enjoy their trips around Europe, if not across Spain.

    Unai Emery’s side will be bidding to win the Europa League for the third year running when they face Liverpool in the final in Basel on Wednesday night.

    Sevilla therefore played a weakened team for their final La Liga fixture on Saturday and lost 3-1 at Athletic Bilbao, meaning they finished the season without a single away league win.

    Timothee Kolodziejczak was sent off as Sevilla finished the season in seventh place, with their Copa del Rey final against Barcelona to come next Sunday.

    At the bottom of La Liga, Sporting Gijon saved themselves on the final day as they beat fourth-placed Villarreal 2-0.

    That meant Getafe, beaten 2-1 at Real Betis, went down with Rayo Vallecano and Levante.

    A bit more Totti?

    Francesco Totti
    Francesco Totti started just two games in Serie A this season


    A running sideshow of Italian football this season has been the “will he stay or will he go?” saga of Roma legend Francesco Totti’s future.

    The former Italy international, 39, is out of contract this summer after 23 years at the Stadio Olimpico.

    Totti has been a bit-part player under Luciano Spalletti as Roma finished third in Serie A.

    But reports in Italy suggest Roma’s record appearance maker has been offered a new deal.

    “We have offered Totti another year’s contract as a player,” Roma director Mauro Baldissoni is quoted as saying in the Italian media.

    So… is Totti staying? “We’re waiting for a response,” Baldissoni reportedly said. “He’ll want to think about it.”

    Miroslav Klose before his final game for Lazio
    Miroslav Klose helped Lazio win the Coppa Italia in 2013


    On the pitch, Palermo secured their Serie A survival with a final-day 3-2 win over bottom club Hellas Verona.

    Carpi’s 2-1 victory at Udinese was therefore not enough to give them a second season in Italy’s top flight.

    Elsewhere, Miroslav Klose marked his final game for Lazio by scoring a penalty in his side’s 4-2 home defeat by Fiorentina.

    The Germany international, 37, leaves after scoring 60 goals during his five seasons in Rome.




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