Analysing the Relegation Picture Across Europe's Top Leagues
The 2012/13 season is winding down across Europe, with many teams from Italy to Germany still fighting to stay in the top flight.
A number of leagues are to witness a thrilling finale as a plethora of sides get set to do battle to try and avoid the drop, and to help keep track of an ever-changing picture, here is Bleacher Report's analysis of the situation across Europe's top leagues.
Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have set the continent alight recently with excellent performances in the Champions League, but at the bottom of the Bundesliga five teams are embroiled in a duel to secure their future at the top level.
Bottom club Greuther Furth have won just three times all season, and despite their recent derby win over Nurnberg, Furth are 12 points adrift of safety with just four games remaining and appear certain to make an immediate return to the second tier following their promotion last term.
Who joins Furth in the 2. Bundesliga is far from settled. Hoffenheim currently sit second from bottom on 24 points and, although they have only lost two of their last six, with games against the likes of Hamburg and Dortmund still to come, avoiding relegation may be an insurmountable task for Markus Gisdol's side.
Augsburg occupy the relegation playoff spot but are just three points shy of Fortuna Dusseldorf and a further two behind struggling Werder Bremen. All of these sides still have winnable games in the final run-in, but Bremen's clash with Hoffenheim and Augsburg's final-day meeting with Furth could prove pivotal.
With Pescara cut adrift at the foot of the table, three other teams are locked in a close-knit fight to avoid falling into Serie B.
Palermo and Genoa are locked on 29 points, with the Sicilians ahead on goal difference, while Tuscan outfit Siena are just a point further ahead.
All three sides have endured major struggles, but with the likes Ciro Immobile and Marco Borriello available to Genoa boss Davide Ballardini, they will be confident of securing survival. Palermo are also blessed with talented players and will hope that midfielder Josip Ilicic can add to his nine-goal tally in the final five games.
Genoa perhaps have the most favorable fixture list, and their meetings with Pescara and Torino could well define their season. Siena are sat in the box seat, but with games against Roma, Fiorentina, Napoli and AC Milan upcoming, they may struggle to ensure their safety unless top scorer Innocent Emeghara can deliver against some of the league's top clubs.
In recent times the picture at the bottom of the La Liga table has been turned on its head, with Galician club Deportivo undergoing a revival thanks to the stewardship of Fernando Vazquez.
Vazquez is Deportivo's third manager of the season, after Jose Luis Oltra and Domingos Paciencia were both dismissed earlier in the year, and finally seems to have found the winning formula, guiding them to four wins in their last five.
That run has moved Vazquez's men two points clear of the drop zone, which is currently occupied by Real Zaragoza, Celta Vigo and Mallorca. However, only five points separate bottom club Zaragoza from 15th placed Osasuna.
With six games still to go, twists and turns are to be expected. Deportivo are undoubtedly in the best form of those currently in the mire, but none of those five can be confident of their top-flight status going into final stretch.
The race for the Eredivisie title is one of the tightest in Europe, however, at the bottom things are all but settled, with Willem II well off the pace in last place, and VVV Venlo looking set to face a relegation playoff following a disappointing season.
Roda JC are at present occupying the final playoff spot but still have half a chance of wrapping up survival in the regular season. Ruud Brood's side are four points behind RKC Waalwijk with three games left, and the clash between the two sides in Kerkrade will undoubtedly be decisive in determining who will head into the postseason with their league status still unknown.
Normally one of the more dramatic leagues in world football, Ligue 1's relegation picture is somewhat settled this season compared to recent years.
Bottom pair Troyes and Brest appear doomed after dreadful runs which have seen the two sides win just three games between them since January.
However, the story at the foot of the division has been the revival of Nancy, with Patrick Gabriel helping lift the men from Lorraine out of the drop zone after losing only five times in the last four months.
Les Chardons are now a point clear of 18th placed Sochaux, and with Evian and Ajaccio both struggling to pull away, the scrap to ensure Ligue 1 safety promises to be a messy one.
All of those ensconced in the battle against the fall to Ligue 2 have winnable fixtures ahead in the last five games, but after failing to find much consistency in recent times. it could well be either Evian or Sochaux who suffers the ignominy of dropping into the final relegation spot.
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