Soccer

Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 tiebreakers and table, including promotion, relegation

Leagues across Europe have some rules that are the same and some that differ, but when it comes to breaking a tie in the standings, it can get a bit confusing. As leagues enter the final week of play, there is plenty of outcomes that could take place. A champion will be declared in Spain’s La Liga and France’s Ligue 1, Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League spots are still to be decided all over, and several teams are still fighting for their top-flight lives. 

Ahead of this week’s action, here is how each of Europe’s big five leagues decide ties in the standings.

What are the options?

Leagues either use goal differential or head-to-head to begin. Goal differential is the difference between goals scored and goals conceded. If a team scored 60 goals and conceded 40, they have a goal differential of plus-20. If a team scored 40 goals and conceded 41, then they have a minus-1 differential. 

Then there is head-to-head, where it comes down to the two league games the tied teams played against each other. In some instances, it can involve more than two teams. 

An example of two teams would be like Spain’s Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. Atletico are in first place, but there is a chance both teams could finish tied on points after the final day of the season. As Spain uses head-to-head points, you then have to see how Atleti and Real fared against each other.

Real beat Atletico 2-0 in their first meeting, and they drew the second meeting 1-1. That means Real (1 win and a draw) have four points against Atleti, while they have one point (one draw, one loss). That means Real would win the tiebreaker, and as a result, win the league. 

Here’s a snapshot of each major European domestic league:

Premier League

If the teams finish with the same number of points, the tiebreaker is decided this way:

  1. Goal difference
  2. Most goals scored during the season
  3. Playoff if tiebreaker is for champion, relegation or European participation

Still to be determined in the Premier League are European spots for the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League. The top four go to the Champions League, while fifth and sixth play Europa League and seventh heads to the Conference League.  

Race for European spots:

  1. Man City (83 points, +47 goal differential)
  2. Man United (70 points, +28 goal differential)
  3. Leicester City (66 points, +21 goal differential)
  4. Chelsea (64 points, +22 goal differential)
  5. Liverpool (63 points, +21 goal differential)
  6. Tottenham (59 points, +22 goal differential)
  7. West Ham (59 points, +10 goal differential)
  8. Everton (56 points, +3 goal differential)

Relegation:

  • Fulham
  • West Brom
  • Sheffield United

Promoted from EFL Championship:

EFL Championship playoffs:

  • Brentford vs. Bournemouth
  • Swansea City vs. Barnsley

La Liga

As we touched on above, La Liga does it a bit differently.

  1. Head-to-head points between tied teams
  2. Head-to-head goal difference
  3. Goal Difference

Real Madrid’s 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid back in December gives them the tiebreak edge should both teams finish the season level on points. The top four go to the Champions League, while fifth heads to Europa League and sixth heads to the Conference League.  

Race for European spots:

  1. Atletico Madrid (83 points, +41 goal differential)
  2. Real Madrid (81 points, +38 goal differential)
  3. Barcelona (76 points, +46 goal differential)
  4. Sevilla (74 points, +19 goal differential)
  5. Real Sociedad (59 points, +20 goal differential)
  6. Real Betis (58 points, -1 goal differential)
  7. Villarreal (58 points, +17 goal differential)

Relegation battle:

Huesca hold the head-to-head tiebreak over Elche and Real Valladolid. Huesca and Eibar drew in their two league meetings.  

  • Huesca (33 points, -19 goal differential)
  • Elche (33 points, -23 goal differential)
  • Real Valladolid (31 points, -22 goal differential)
  • Eibar (30 points, -22 goal differential)

Promoted from La Liga 2

Serie A

In Italy, a frantic final weekend could see some big changes with three teams fighting for two Champions League spots. Here’s how they break ties in Italy:

  1. Head-to-head points
  2. Head-to-head goal difference
  3. Goal difference
  4. Most goals scored
  5. Playoff

Spots for UCL, Europa League and Conference League have yet to be fully determined. The top four go to the Champions League, while fifth and sixth play Europa League and seventh heads to the Conference League. The relegation battle is still ongoing as well.

Race for European spots:

AC Milan hold the tiebreak over Napoli and Juventus based on goal differential in their meetings. 

  1. Inter Milan (88 points, +50 goal differential)
  2. Atalanta (78 points, +45 goal differential)
  3. AC Milan (76 points, +31 goal differential)
  4. Napoli (76 points, +45 goal differential)
  5. Juventus (75 points, +36 goal differential)
  6. Lazio (67 points, +8 goal differential)
  7. Roma (61 points, +10 goal differential)
  8. Sassuolo (59 points, +6 goal differential)

Relegation battle:

Torino host Benevento on the final day. The two sides played to a 2-2 draw in January. 

  • Torino (35 points, -19 goal differential)
  • Benevento (32 points, -35 goal differential)
  • Crotone (22 points, -47 goal differential)
  • Parma (20 points, -41 goal differential)

Promoted from Serie B

Serie B playoffs:

  • Lecce vs. Venezia
  • Monza vs. Cittadella

Bundesliga

The German league does it similarly to the Premier League.

  1. Goal difference
  2. Goals scored
  3. Head-to-head results
  4. Head-to-head goals scored
  5. Head-to-head away goals scored
  6. Total away goals
  7. Playoff

All that is to be decided in Germany is who goes to the Conference League, who is relegated and who is in the relegation playoff. The top four go to the Champions League, while fifth and sixth play Europa League and seventh heads to the Conference League. 

Race for European spots:

  1. Bayern Munich (75 points, +52 goal differential)
  2. RB Leipzig (65 points, +29 goal differential)
  3. Borussia Dortmund (61 points, +27 goal differential)
  4. Wolfsburg (61 points, +25 goal differential)
  5. Eintracht Frankfurt (57 points, +14 goal differential)
  6. Bayer Leverkusen (52 points, +16 goal differential)
  7. Union Berlin (47 points, +6 goal differential)
  8. Borussia Monchengladbach (46 points, +6 goal differential)

Relegation battle:

  • Arminia Bielefeld (32 points, -28 goal differential)
  • Werder Bremen (31 points, -19 goal differential)
  • Köln (30 points, -27 goal differential)
  • Schalke (16 points, -60 goal differential)

Promoted from 2. Bundesliga

Ligue 1

So much can still happen in France. Three teams still have chances to be crowned champion on the final matchday, while UCL, Europa League, Conference League and one relegation playoff spot are still up for grabs. The top two go to the Champions League, while the third will have to qualify to the group stage in the play-off. Fourth and fifth play Europa League and sixth heads to the Conference League. 

Here is how they do it in France:

  1. Goal difference
  2. Most goals scored
  3. Playoff

Race for European spots:

  1. Lille (80 points, +40 goal differential)
  2. PSG (79 points, +56 goal differential)
  3. Monaco (77 points, +34 goal differential)
  4. Lyon (76 points, +39 goal differential)
  5. Marseille (59 points, +7 goal differential)
  6. Lens (56 points, +1 goal differential)
  7. Rennes (55 points, +10 goal differential)

Relegation battle:

  • Reims (42 points, -7 goal differential)
  • Bordeaux (42 points, -15 goal differential)
  • Strasbourg (41 points, -9 goal differential)
  • Brest (41 points, -14 goal differential)
  • Lorient (41 points, -18 goal differential)
  • Nantes (40 points, -7 goal differential)
  • Nimes (35 points, -29 goal differential)
  • Dijon (18 points, -49 goal differential)

Promoted from Ligue 2



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