What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe
What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:
Three teams are unbeaten after the opening 12 games of an English top-flight campaign for the first time in 130 years. One of them could struggle to maintain that record this weekend.
Of the trio of pacesetters, Chelsea faces the toughest test when the Premier League resumes Saturday following the international break as Maurizio Sarri’s side is away to fourth-place Tottenham.
Without hitting top form, Tottenham is putting together an impressive run of results, with nine wins from 12 games. That’s one more victory than Chelsea has.
The other unbeaten sides are Manchester City and Liverpool, who both play away on Saturday against West Ham and Watford respectively.
Manchester United, seven points off the top four in the race for Champions League qualification, is at home to Crystal Palace.
— By Steve Douglas
Atletico Madrid has a chance to take the Spanish league lead for the first time this weekend but will need to do something it hasn’t done in the competition in eight years: Defeat Barcelona.
Three points on Saturday at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium will move Atletico past Barcelona in the standings. The team’s last league win over the Catalan club was in 2010 and that was at the old Vicente Calderon Stadium, before Diego Simeone was in charge.
Atletico has only two wins against Barcelona in 26 matches since then, both in the Champions League, with the last one in 2016. Atletico lost 16 of those games, drawing eight.
Like Atletico, Sevilla and Alaves also trail Barcelona by one point after 12 games. Sevilla hosts Valladolid on Sunday, while Alaves visits relegation-threatened Leganes on Friday.
Fifth-place Espanyol hosts fellow Catalan club Girona on Sunday. Sixth-place Real Madrid visits Eibar on Saturday to try to keep up its strong momentum under new coach Santiago Solari.
— By Tales Azzoni
In what promises to be an emotional occasion on Sunday, Genoa and Sampdoria meet in their first derby since 43 people were killed in the Morandi highway bridge collapse in the city in August.
Since Ivan Juric began his third stint as Genoa coach last month, replacing Davide Ballardini, the team has not won in four matches. Two draws and two losses included a 5-0 thrashing by Inter Milan.
Sampdoria has done even worse after a draw and three losses, with 11 goals conceded in its last three games.
On Saturday, Serie A leader Juventus hosts promoted Spal and third-place Inter plays Frosinone. On Sunday, second-place Napoli meets Chievo Verona while Lazio and AC Milan, in a battle for fourth spot, meet in Rome.
Roma visits Udinese on Saturday ahead of its Champions League match against Real Madrid.
— By Andrew Dampf
With a crucial Champions League game coming up against Liverpool next week, Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel is unlikely to risk Neymar or Kylian Mbappe for Saturday’s home match against Toulouse.
Neymar injured his groin in Brazil’s friendly against Cameroon on Tuesday, while strike partner Mbappe hurt his shoulder playing for France against Uruguay on the same night.
PSG has a 13-point lead at the top of the league — after 13 games — and has already netted 45 goals. With Toulouse in 15th place, a 14th win appears straightforward enough for the hosts.
Tuchel could rest other key players ahead of Wednesday’s game at Parc des Princes. PSG is third behind Napoli and second-place Liverpool in Group C with five points from four games.
On Sunday, second-place Lille is at Nice and third-place Montpellier faces Rennes.
— By Jerome Pugmire
After losing to Borussia Dortmund before the international break, Bayern Munich is in the unusual position of being outside the Champions League qualification positions heading into Saturday’s home match against Fortuna Duesseldorf in the Bundesliga.
Bayern is in fifth place, seven points behind unbeaten leader Dortmund, which travels to mid-table Mainz on Saturday.
Second-place Borussia Moenchengladbach is at home to struggling Hannover on Sunday.