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Talking points from European soccer

TALKING points from the weekend in European soccer leagues:

ITALY

ALLEGRI UNDER PRESSURE

The season has changed quickly for Juventus and manager Massimiliano Allegri.

After their loss against Lazio on Saturday, Juve have only one win in the last nine Serie A matches from which they have gained seven points.

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What had looked like shaping up to be a title battle with leaders Inter Milan before Christmas, has transformed into a struggle to achieve a top-four spot, a goal clearly stated by Allegri on several occasions.

If Bologna and AS Roma win their respective matches on Monday, they will be two and five points behind Juve. The prospect of another season without Champions League participation might ring alarm bells at Juve and increase pressure on Allegri who has a contract until 2025.

GERMANY

DORTMUND ON A ROLL

Fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund have hit form as the season nears its end and their 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich on Saturday was their fifth in a row in all competitions.

“It was not just the fifth consecutive victory. As a team, we have taken a big step forward,” coach Edin Terzic said.

Dortmund play VfB Stuttgart at home next Saturday before the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at Atletico Madrid.

“We have extremely important weeks and games ahead of us,” Terzic said. “If we manage to make this performance a habit, it will be difficult for any team in the world to play against us.”

Borussia Dortmund players celebrate after winning the match against Bayern Munich. REUTERS/Angelika Warmuth

SPAIN

XAVI TO STAY?

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Barcelona have experienced a recent revival and their victory against Las Palmas on Saturday extended their unbeaten run to 11 matches across all competitions.

Spanish media reported that coach Xavi Hernandez, who announced in January his intention to step down at the end of the season, is now facing pressure to reconsider and stay with the team.

However, the 44-year-old has remained steadfast and said he has not changed his mind.

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“I’m grateful to the club… but nothing is changing about my decision now. There are no substantial changes, but the key word for me is thanks. I’m really grateful,” he said before the match against Las Palmas.

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By The African Mirror

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