When deciding upon headline acts for the weekly Loan Report, deference usually goes to those who produce on the pitch, be it goals, assists, or clean sheets. Therefore this week, despite the stakes being considerably higher for other young Blues, we lead off with Kevin De Bruyne.
The Belgian international grabbed his seventh goal of the season for a troubled Werder Bremen team on Saturday, netting midway through the second half to put them 2-0 up against Hoffenheim.
However, Hoffenheim claimed a point with two late, late goals which, combined with other results, leaves Bremen just three points and one place above the relegation zone with two games remaining.
Jeffrey Bruma was a timewasting stoppage time substitute for Hamburg at home to Freiburg and has just two games left of what has been an ultimately disappointing stay at the club.
Back in England, Nathaniel Chalobah and Watford had the chance to earn promotion to the Premier League on a crazy last day of the season in the Championship. With Hull City having been held 2-2 at home by Cardiff City, the stage was set for Watford to grab a goal in the last ten minutes of their game – delayed by a serious injury to goalkeeper Jonathan Bond – to garner the required three points from Leeds United and leapfrog the Tigers.
Unfortunately, it ended in anguish for Chalobah (who played 90 minutes and almost scored a late goal himself), Gianfranco Zola and the Hornets as a late Leeds winner consigned them to the playoffs. He’ll be the only Blues player involved in the typically dramatic four-way battle, as Nottingham Forest and Sam Hutchinson missed out after losing 3-2 to Leicester in the final minute of the season.
Hutch was absent through injury and now returns to Chelsea after his loan spell has come to an end. Josh McEachran returned last week, missing the last two Middlesbrough fixtures, and reportedly requires ankle surgery which will keep him out of any England international tournaments this summer.
George Saville also completed his stay at Millwall without appearing in their last two games, and accumulated just two appearances and one start in his couple of months at the New Den.
Todd Kane and Blackburn all but secured survival last week and could enjoy their trip to Birmingham City on the final afternoon. Todd played 90 minutes as usual and will return to Cobham with a very productive and enjoyable experience under his belt.
In the Premier League, Romelu Lukaku continued a good run of form by playing a big part on one of West Brom’s two goals in a 3-2 home defeat by Wigan Athletic. His quick through ball released Markus Rosenberg, who in turn squared for Shane Long to tap home.
In Belgium, Zulte Waregem crashed 4-0 at home to Genk on Friday night in a result which severely dents their title aspirations. Thorgan Hazard played the full match and won a penalty – which was then missed – but Essevee will need to pick up their game after consecutive losses. They’re two points behind Anderlecht with three games remaining, including a head-to-head-clash between the two.
In the Netherlands, Vitesse Arnhem’s Champions League dream is over as they lost 3-2 to RKC and PSV beat NEC Nijmegen to open a three-point gap with one round remaining. Vitesse would need a 37-goal swing in their favour to claim second place on goal difference…
Tomas Kalas and Patrick van Aanholt both played 90 minutes at the back, but Gael Kakuta was not involved in any capacity.
Kenneth Omeruo got 90 minutes, a booking and a clean sheet in a highly impressive 2-0 win for ADO Den Haag against Feyenoord.
In Spain, Thibaut Courtois’ 19th league clean sheet of the season came in a goalless draw away to Deportivo, a result which ensured Atlético Madrid’s place in next season’s Champions League. They can assure themselves of an automatic path to the group stages with a win next week.
Lucas Piazón – who this week spoke of his comfort on loan at Málaga and how he expects to be out on loan again next season – got 20 minutes as a second half substitute in a 1-0 loss to Granada which all but ends any hopes they had of Champions League qualification for next season; UEFA ban pending, of course.
Ulises Dávila missed Sabadell’s clash with Numancia and will remain sidelined through injury for a couple of weeks yet, whilst Jhon Pírez and Leganés confirmed their place in the Spanish third tier’s playoffs even before they kicked off against Ourense. Pírez was again not able to take part through injury as Lega drew 1-1.
In Croatia, Matej Delac kept a clean sheet as Inter Zapresic won a second game in a row in their bid to escape relegation. Inter defeated NK Zagreb 2-0 and are now within two points of safety.
There was no place for Wallace in Fluminense’s Copa Libertadores team which lost at Emelec, but Cristian Cuevas got another 75 minutes in O’Higgins’ first team in their 1-1 Chilean League draw against Cobreloa.