European soccer weekend: What to watch in the main leagues
What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:
Atletico Madrid arrives in fine form to face league leader Barcelona on Sunday in a match that could re-ignite the title race.
Atletico was 11 points behind Barcelona a few weeks ago. Now, after eight straight wins, Atletico could close the gap to two points with a victory. Barcelona is unbeaten in the league this season but it has drawn three of its last five games.
Atletico forward Antoine Griezmann will enter Sunday’s match lifted by a hat trick against Sevilla and a four-goal performance against Leganes.
Third-place Real Madrid hosts southern Madrid rival Getafe on Saturday, while fourth-place Valencia — one point behind Madrid — is at Real Betis on Sunday.
— By Tales Azzoni in Madrid.
The champions play the team that will likely dethrone them when Chelsea goes to Manchester City on Sunday.
Chelsea is 22 points behind Man City in fifth place — a position that leaves Antonio Conte scrapping just to seize one of the four Champions League places.
Manchester United, which trails City by 16 points in second place, is at Crystal Palace on Monday. Third-place Liverpool hosts Newcastle on Saturday while fourth-place Tottenham takes on Huddersfield.
The longest winless streak belongs to Burnley at 11 games. Burnley is 10 points above the relegation zone with 10 games to go but is still seventh heading into Saturday’s game against Everton.
Arsenal is stranded between Chelsea and Burnley going into Sunday’s game against Brighton, reeling from back-to-back 3-0 losses to Man City — in the League Cup final and Premier League.
— By Rob Harris in London.
Borussia Dortmund and Leipzig, two of the teams chasing Champions League qualification behind league leader Bayern Munich, meet Saturday in the Bundesliga.
Dortmund is in second place, 19 points behind Bayern, while Leipzig is sixth. Three points separates them with 10 games left.
In between them, third-place Schalke hosts Hertha Berlin, fourth-place Eintracht Frankfurt is at home to Hannover, and fifth-place Bayer Leverkusen visits Wolfsburg.
Borussia Moenchengladbach is another contender and hosts relegation-threatened Werder Bremen. Bayern is at Freiburg on Sunday.
— By Ciaran Fahey in Berlin.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery must be wondering who to pick in attack for Saturday’s match at struggling Troyes.
Neymar needs an operation on his right foot and could miss the rest of the season. It got more complicated for PSG in Wednesday’s French Cup win against Troyes, with forward Kylian Mbappe limping off with a cut on his ankle.
Emery is optimistic it is nothing serious but is unlikely to risk Mbappe against 18th-place Troyes, especially with PSG facing Real Madrid in the return leg of the Champions League on Tuesday and needing to overturn a 3-1 deficit.
Emery could well have to pick top scorer Edinson Cavani — rather than resting him — flanked by Julian Draxler and the in-form Angel Di Maria. The Argentina winger has scored 12 goals since January.
PSG has a 14-point lead over second-place Monaco, which is at home to eighth-place Bordeaux on Friday. Marseille is two points behind Monaco in third place and hosts sixth-place Nantes on Sunday.
— By Jerome Pugmire in Paris.
AC Milan and Inter Milan are in very different moods ahead of Sunday’s derby.
Milan is on an eight-match unbeaten run in Serie A and 13 in all competitions, and hasn’t conceded a goal in six straight matches.
That run has sent it through to the final of the Italian Cup, the last 16 of the Europa League and up to seventh in Serie A, within seven points of Inter in the last Champions League qualifying spot.
Inter has won only two league matches in nearly three months.
The Nerazzurri are a point ahead of Roma and one behind Lazio but both of those clubs face tough tests on Saturday. Roma visits Serie A leader Napoli, while Lazio hosts Juventus.
Napoli leads Juventus by four points, although the six-time defending champions have played a match less after last weekend’s game against Atalanta was cancelled because of snow.
— By Daniella Matar.
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