European soccer weekend: What to watch in the main leagues
By The Associated Press
Apr. 13, 2018
What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:
After failing to wrap up the Premier League title by losing to Manchester United, Manchester City's hopes of clinching this weekend rest on its neighbor losing.
The trophy will be secured with five games to spare if City wins at Tottenham on Saturday and United loses to last-place West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
The City juggernaut has slowed in the last week or so, with back-to-back losses to Liverpool in the Champions League quarterfinals sandwiched between the collapse against United.
Tottenham hosts City looking to lock down a top-four finish, with three wins from the final six games guaranteeing a third straight season in the Champions League for the north London club.
Liverpool, which is ahead of Tottenham on goal difference, plays Bournemouth on Saturday.
In the relegation zone above West Brom, next-to-last Stoke is at West Ham and Southampton takes on Chelsea. Crystal Palace, which is three points above the drop zone, hosts Brighton.
— By Rob Harris in London
Runaway leader Paris Saint-Germain can seal the French title in front of its home fans by beating defending champion Monaco at Parc des Princes on Sunday.
A draw for Monaco will merely postpone the inevitable — a fifth title for PSG in the past six seasons. Monaco trails PSG by 14 points.
With only five matches remaining after this weekend's games, Monaco is still favored to finish second. But the scrap for third place and a playoff place in next season's Champions League promises to be an intense fight to the finish between Lyon and Marseille. They are level on points, with Lyon ahead on goal difference.
Lyon's form, so dismal in February and March, has picked up at a crucial time and the team will be confident of earning a third straight league win at home against Amiens on Saturday.
Marseille, by contrast, is dropping points and has taken only four from the last three games. Marseille travels Sunday to struggling Troyes, which is in 18th place and the relegation playoff spot.
— By Jerome Pugmire in Paris
Valencia's impressive Spanish league run is in danger when it visits leader Barcelona on Saturday.
Barcelona was the last team to defeat Valencia before it went on a run of eight victories in 10 matches to move to third place in the standings.
That home loss to Barcelona came in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals more than two months ago. Before that, Valencia had lost seven consecutive games in all competitions.
Striker Rodrigo has been key to Valencia's successful run, scoring at least once in five straight matches.
Valencia is pursuing second place along with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. It is three points behind Atletico and one point in front of Madrid with seven matches left.
Barcelona, coming off a demoralizing loss to Roma in the Champions League quarterfinals, has a comfortable 11-point lead over Atletico at the top of the standings.
Atletico hosts relegation-wary Levante on Sunday, while Real Madrid visits last-place Malaga fresh from making it to the Champions League semifinals for the eighth straight season.
In the scrap for Europa League spots, seventh-place Sevilla hosts sixth-place Villarreal on Saturday, while eighth-place Girona hosts fifth-place Real Betis on Friday.
— By Tales Azzoni in Madrid
After Bayern Munich won the title last weekend, the big Bundesliga game this week is the Ruhr derby between second-place Schalke and third-place Borussia Dortmund in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday.
Dortmund will hope to make amends after letting a four-goal lead slip to draw 4-4 in their previous meeting. A win would allow the club reclaim second place with four matches remaining.
Hamburger SV visits Hoffenheim on Saturday when another win would give the team renewed hope of escaping relegation.
"We want to make the impossible possible," Hamburg midfielder Lewis Holtby said after his team ended its 15-game run without a win last weekend.
Victory over Schalke left the team five points behind Mainz in the relegation playoff place.
Last-place Cologne visits Hertha Berlin, also Saturday, while Mainz hosts Freiburg on Monday. Bayer Leverkusen hosts Eintracht Frankfurt for a game with Champions League qualification at stake on Saturday.
Bayern hosts Borussia Moenchengladbach in Saturday's late game.
— By Ciaran Fahey in Berlin
After an incredible win over Barcelona in the Champions League, Roma returns to Serie A duties with the Rome derby against Lazio on Sunday.
Lazio and Roma are in a tight battle for third and fourth place and the last two Champions League berths.
Lazio and Roma are level on points, one ahead of fifth-place Inter Milan, which visits Atalanta a day earlier.
Serie A leader Juventus hosts regional rival Sampdoria looking to regroup after fuming over the penalty awarded to Real Madrid that eliminated the Bianconeri from the Champions League.
Aiming for a record-extending seventh straight title, Juventus is four points ahead of Napoli, which visits AC Milan.
— By Andrew Dampf in Rome
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