clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Surviving the European club football offseason: What to watch

The European club football schedule has ended. Most media and fan attention will be on transfer rumors in the absence of a major competitive international tournament, but there are plenty of games to watch.

Bob Levey

With the UEFA Champions League wrapping up on Saturday, quickly followed by the Coppa Italia and Liga MX finals on Sunday and the Championship playoff final on Monday, the European club season has quickly come to a close. You could curl up in a ball and cry until next August, or you could just watch some slightly less entertaining soccer. Here are all of your options for offseason viewing.

La Liga: One more round to play

The title has already been decided in La Liga, but the battles for fourth place and to avoid relegation have gone down to the final day. Real Madrid and Barcelona both play early on Saturday, while the remaining eight games of the final round will all take place simultaneously, at 3 p.m. ET. Valencia and Real Sociedad are duking it out for a Champions League spot, while the bottom four are separated by just two points.

Argentine Primera: Three rounds remain

Newell's Old Boys tops the table on 32 points, three points ahead of their nearest rivals. There are five teams within six points of them, though only the top three will feel like they have a realistic chance to take the title. River Plate sit on 29 points, while Lanus are on 28. River play at Lanus on the final day, while Newell's still have Copa Libertadores and Copa Argentina to juggle.

Major League Soccer: Regular season ends Oct. 27, then playoffs

Depending on what other competitions they're involved in, MLS teams have already played between 11 and 15 games this season. The New York Red Bulls lead the Eastern Conference, though the Montreal Impact have the most points per game in the East. Out West, FC Dallas is on top in both categories. The playoffs will start during the final days of October or the first week of November. MLS Cup will take place approximately one month after the playoffs begin.

National Women's Soccer League: Regular season ends Aug. 18, semifinals Aug. 24, final Aug. 31

Unlike MLS, all of the NWSL's postseason dates have been announced. Because there are only eight teams participating in the inaugural season, they're already nearly halfway done. U.S. women's national team strikers Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux are among the five players tied on top of the scoring charts with four goals apiece.

Copa Libertadores: Currently in quarterfinals, final is July 24

South America's premier club competition is still going on. This year's knockout stage seedings resulted in most of the best teams getting packed into one side of the bracket. Whoever emerges out of the top half, with Newell's, Boca Juniors, Atletico Mineiro and Tijuana, should be favored in the final. That's not to say that Santa Fe, Fluminense or Olimpia are pushovers, but the other finalist will have run through an impressive gauntlet just to get there.

Brasileirão: Started Saturday, runs until December

The highlight of the first round of Brazil's top flight was Neymar playing his final game for Santos last Sunday. São Paulo plays in the best fixtures of the next two rounds, hosting Vasco da Gama on Wednesday before playing away to Atletico Mineiro on Saturday.

J. League: Started March 2, ends Dec. 7

It's only feasible to watch the J. League when you come home from the bar if you live in North America, or if you wake up very early in the morning in Europe. But provided you're an American partier or an English early riser, you've got a fun league to watch.

International friendlies

There are always tons of these. The United States plays Belgium on Wednesday, and England is in action earlier in the day as well. Mexico and Italy both play on Friday and there are friendlies throughout next week across the world, including United States-Germany on June 2.

World Cup qualifying: Multiple dates in June

The biggest World Cup qualifying date is June 7, when every confederation but AFC will be in action. Asia has a round of qualifiers on June 4, which coincides with Mexico-Panama. CONMEBOL, CONCACAF and AFC are all in action on June 11, then CONCACAF and AFC play again on June 18. Africa's qualifying dates are much more spread out, but all teams in CAF qualifying play in June.

International tournaments

European Under-21 Championships: June 5-18

Confederations Cup: June 15-30

Under-20 World Cup: June 21 - July 13

CONCACAF Gold Cup: July 7-28

Most European teams will not have any players participating in both the UEFA Under-21 championship and the Under-20 World Cup, as to avoid annoying club managers and wearing out young players. The Confederations Cup is the warm-up tournament for the World Cup and includes the reigning champions of all six confederations, plus the host country and the last World Cup winner. Because Spain is the defending champion of two tournaments, Euro 2012 runners-up Italy will participate. Mexico and the United States are likely to send B teams to the Gold Cup, though the overlap between that tournament and the Under-20 World Cup will force them into tough choices with their best young players.

The UEFA Champions League begins qualifying early in July, but the first round in which most of the remaining teams are good -- the third qualifying round -- begins on July 30. The playoff round starts on Aug. 20, after most of Europe's big leagues have resumed. Schedules are not set for the new seasons of the Premier League, La Liga and the like, but they should be released shortly. Expect the highest level of club soccer to return around the second week of August.

Follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter | Like SB Nation Soccer on Facebook

More in Soccer:

Roberto Martinez leaves Wigan

It was time for Neymar to move on

Robbie Rogers becomes first openly gay man in American professional team sports

Transfer rumours from SB Nation and our team blogs

Full coverage of the NWSL