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Quick refresher on European soccer as new seasons get underway


The GIST: Three of the world’s top men’s soccer leagues kicked off over the weekend, and if you’re feeling like you need a quick refresher on the complexities of European football, then you’ve come to the right place. Just call us Coach Beard.

August 16, 2021
Source: Premier League/Twitter
Source: Premier League/Twitter

The leagues: England’s Premier League (EPL), Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga regular seasons began on Friday and will run until May (long, we know). Each league has a similar setup: 20 clubs (aka teams) compete in EPL and La Liga and 18 in Bundesliga, with each club playing every other club twice — once at home and once away.

  • Without conferences or divisions, each league’s rankings are based on points (a win earns three points and a draw gets one), and the league’s champion is the club with the most points at the end of the season. Simple as that. 
  • But there’s more. At season's end, the bottom two teams in Bundesliga and bottom three teams in the others are “relegated,” (i.e, sent down to the second-tier league), while the top two teams from the “B league” are guaranteed promotion to the top tier. Fun.

The women: The men are just the appetizer. France’s D1 Arkema and Germany’s Frauen Bundesliga kick off on August 27th, England’s FA Women’s Super League starts September 3rd and Spain’s Primera División begins September 5th.

  • In the meantime, the Women’s International Champions Cup semifinals are set for Wednesday. The Cup features the 2020 winners of the NWSL Fall Series, the NWSL Challenge Cup, the UEFA Women’s Champions League and the Primera División.
  • The Portland Thorns will play the Houston Dash while the Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon) and FC Barcelona face off, with the winners of each meeting on Saturday. Follow the action here