Five exciting title races in Europe, from Denmark to Bulgaria

When we return to club football after the international break, we are headed into the business end of the season and some classic title races across Europe are building to an engaging crescendo. While we all know about the English Premier League‘s three-way battle between Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, there are some other mouth-watering struggles taking place across the continent.

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Here are a few titanic tussles that may have slipped under the radar.

The situation: Three teams (Midtjylland, Brøndby, Copenhagen) separated by three points with 10 games in Championship round remaining

The Danish Superliga was delicately poised in the regular season and the Championship round promises to be too close to call.

Jutland side Midtjylland, renowned for their youth development, finished on top, but they face stiff competition from two bitter rivals, Brøndby IF and FC Copenhagen. FC Copenhagen showed the world what they are capable of with their remarkable Champions League campaign and their 4-3 win over Manchester United will live long in the memory, but they will need to find a higher gear if they are to secure domestic glory.

The Copenhagen Derby between Brøndby and Copenhagen is one of Europe’s fiercest, but it’s also relatively new — Copenhagen was only technically founded in 1992 from a merger. Both clubs will be determined to make sure it isn’t a fight for second place.

Parva League (Bulgaria)

The title race: Three teams (Ludogorets Razgrad, Cherno More Varna, PFC CSKA-Sofia) separated by three points with five regular season games remaining

Ludogorets Razgrad have dominated Bulgarian football for over a decade. Despite only gaining promotion to the top flight in 2011, they quickly developed a stranglehold and have the longest ongoing winning run — 12 consecutive titles — in European football. However, this year they face a real challenge. The old guard, CSKA Sofia, are a familiar face — they hold the record for Bulgarian titles, with 31 — but they are joined in hot pursuit by Cherno More Varna, who haven’t triumphed since 1938.

Ludogorets still have the advantage and have hit a period of ominous form with five wins in a row in all competitions, but they have testing games against Levski Sofia and CSKA 1948 still to come.

This one really could go to the wire.

Ekstraklasa (Poland)

The title race: Four teams (Jagiellonia Białystok, Śląsk Wrocław, Raków Częstochowa, Lech Poznań) separated by four points with nine games remaining

Here we have a four-horse race, one made all the more exciting for the presence of some less expected frontrunners with eight games remaining.

Jagiellonia Bialystok, who hail from Poland’s 10th largest city, are leading with nine games to go, but the pressure is building as they’ve have never won the league before. Although they have a favourable run-in, memories of second-placed finishes in 2016-17 and 2017-18 will play on the minds of the main supporters’ group known as the Children of Bialystok.

Śląsk Wroclaw are the closest challengers, but eight-time champions and European regulars Lech Poznan are just four points back, shoulder to shoulder with last year’s first-time champions Rakow Czestochowa. Śląsk and Rakow Czestochowa meet on the final day in what could be a crucial match if Jagiellonia Bialystok lose their way.

Super League (Greece)

The title race: Four teams (PAOK, AEK Athens, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos) separated by five points with nine games of play-off round to play

Greek football has had a tough time of late, with fan violence and refereeing controversies stealing the headlines, but on the pitch it has been a fascinating season.Just five points separate Olympiacos in fourth place from leaders AEK Athens, with PAOK and Panathinaikos two and three points behind respectively.

As the league is split into two for the final stage of the season, there are big games galore and everything still to play for. A final-day Derby of the Eternal Rivals between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos could still be pivotal.

North Macedonia’s PRVA Liga (North Macedonia)

The title race: Three teams (Struga, Shkupi, Shkëndija) separated by six points with six games remaining

North Macedonia may not be on your go-to list when planning your weekend’s football viewing, but there’s an intriguing title race playing out in southeast Europe.

League leaders, FC Struga Trim-Lum, are the new kids on the block. The club was only founded in 2015 and worked their way up from the fourth tier to win their first-ever title last year — a remarkable achievement for a club whose stadium only holds 800 people.

The chasing pack is led by Shkupi and Shkëndija, two teams who stepped into the void left when traditional powerhouses of North Macedonian football, FK Vardar, went into decline and a spell in the wilderness of the second tier.

The final day of the season sees Struga play Shkupi and the title may well be at stake.

While these races are very much alive and kicking, there are a couple of title races that proved to be short-lived.

In Wales, The New Saints secured the JD Cymru Premier title with six games remaining and boast a 26-point lead on second placed Connah’s Quay. They are now looking for a quadruple after winning the Welsh League Cup and booking places in the Welsh Cup semifinals and Scottish Challenge Cup final.

Qarabag turned heads when they took Bayer Levekusen to the brink of elimination in the Europa League; therefore, it’s little surprise that the Azerbaijan Premier League has been a procession. Qarabag are 26 points ahead of Sabah and can afford to focus on their Azerbaijan Cup semifinal, as they look to complete the double they missed out on last season when they were unexpectedly dumped out at the quarterfinal stage.