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European Weekend Preview: Real Madrid hosts Atletico, Dortmund travels to Bayern, and more

Following midweek domestic action across Europe’s top leagues, weekend coverage rolls on as some mouth-watering fixtures take centerstage.

In Spain, the Madrid Derby is the premier showdown of the weekend with Real Madrid hosting Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. Zinedine Zidane’s squad remain atop La Liga and are 10 points ahead of their local rivals in the standings. The hosts have won their last five league fixtures and have done so outscoring their opponents, 15-5, in that span. As for Atletico, Diego Simeone’s men have also won their last five in league play, keeping a clean sheet in four of them. Both teams will look to their stars on Saturday as Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann are two of the world’s best forwards.

Meanwhile in Germany, the marquee match-up of the round comes from Munich as leaders Bayern Munich welcome Borussia Dortmund to the Allianz Arena. Carlo Ancelotti’s side suffered a 1-0 road defeat at Hoffenheim on Tuesday and will look bounce back against another top side. As for Dortmund, they are 15 points off of the leaders, but look to remain in the top-four for a European berth. Both teams will look for the win, especially heading into their respective UEFA Champions League Round of 16 matches next week.

Elsewhere, RB Leipzig welcome Bayer Leverkusen while Hoffenheim travels to Hamburg. In England, Chelsea travel to Bournemouth on Saturday while Everton host reigning champs Leicester at Goodison Park on Sunday. In Italy, a battle of third and fourth takes place at the Olimpico as Napoli travels to Lazio while PSG host Guingamp in France.

Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s European action:

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

In England’s early match on Saturday, Watford travel to second-place Tottenham Hotspur looking to build off back-to-back league victories. Walter Mazzarri’s side are in tenth place and look comfortably safe to retain their Premier League status another year. Striker Troy Deeney leads the visitors with 10 league goals this season. Tottenham got a late win at Swansea on Wednesday and will look for a much-easier match on Saturday at home. With Harry Kane out with an injury, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen lead the way for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

League-leaders Chelsea will look to make it two wins in four days as they travel to Bournemouth in Saturday’s late match. Antonio Conte’s side defeated Manchester City, 2-1, on Wednesday and will look for playmaker Eden Hazard to work his magic again. The Belgian netted two goals in Wednesday’s victory. Bournemouth drew, 2-2, at Liverpool on Wednesday and will look to frustrate the leaders at Vitality Stadium. The Cherries sit in 13th, but know a win paired with other results could see them go as high as ninth.

Sunday’s late kickoff comes from Goodison Park as Everton welcome Leicester City to town. Ronald Koeman’s Toffees drew, 1-1, at Manchester United on Tuesday, allowing a late penalty kick goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Everton sit in seventh place, but are the fourth-best side at home this season. Leicester have turned their season around magnificently under the guidance of caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare. The Foxes have won all six matches in all competitions under Shakespeare, and look to have their mojo back which helped them lift their first ever Premier League title a year ago.

Saturday

  • Tottenham Hotspur vs Watford
  • Manchester City vs. Hull City
  • Middlesbrough vs. Burnley
  • Stoke City vs. Liverpool
  • West Bromwich Albion vs. Southampton
  • West Ham United vs. Swansea City
  • AFC Bournemouth vs. Chelsea

Sunday

  • Sunderland AFC vs. Manchester United
  • Everton vs. Leicester City

Monday

  • Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal

SPANISH LA LIGA

Spain’s weekend action kicks off on Friday as Villarreal welcomes Athletic Bilbao to El Madrigal. The hosts snapped a two game losing streak on Tuesday defeating Real Betis 1-0 away from home. They currently sit in fifth place which would be good for a Europa League spot next season. Athletic Bilbao sits a point behind their opponents, knowing a win would jump them up a spot. Striker Aritz Adruiz leads the bunch with 12 goals.

Second-place Barcelona travels to Malaga in Saturday’s late match, looking to keep pace with leaders Real Madrid. Luis Enrique’s side eased past Sevilla midweek at the Camp Nou, and will look to do the same against their 15th-place hosts. Lionel Messi leads the bunch with 27 league goals, while Luis Suarez has added 24. Malaga snapped a five-match winless run after defeating Sporting Gijon, 1-0, on Wednesday.

Sunday’s feature match comes from Pontevedra as Celta Vigo hosts Eibar in a battle of tenth vs. eighth. The hosts sit three points behind their opponents, and are coming off victories against Deportivo and Las Palmas respectively. Striker Iago Aspas leads the way with 15 goals this season. Eibar is unbeaten in their last three, including a 3-2 road win at Villarreal last Saturday.

Friday

  • Villarreal vs. Athletic Bilbao

Saturday

  • Espanyol vs. Alaves
  • Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid
  • Sevilla vs. Deportivo
  • Malaga vs. Barcelona

Sunday

  • Granada vs. Valencia
  • Celta Vigo vs. Eibar
  • Osasuna vs. Leganes
  • Las Palmas vs. Real Betis

Monday

  • Real Sociedad vs. Sporting Gijon

GERMAN BUNDESLIGA

This weekend’s Bundesliga action kicks off on Friday as Eintracht Frankfurt welcomes Werder Bremen to town. This match features two sides that are heading opposite directions in the table. The hosts have struggled lately, not earning a league victory since Feb. 5. Frankfurt sits in eighth, while Bremen could leapfrog their opponents with a win paired with other results this weekend. The visitors have won their last three matches by a combined score of 11-2.

The first match on Saturday’s slate comes from Gelsenkirchen as Schalke hosts Wolfsburg at VELTINS-Arena. The hosts suffered a 3-0 road defeat at Werder Bremen midweek, and would like to get back on track against a fellow bottom-half side. Wolfsburg sits a place behind Schalke in the table, but are only a point clear of the relegation playoff spot. Striker Mario Gomez will be counted on for Wolfsburg, leading the team with 12 goals so far.

Second-place RB Leipzig hosts Bayer Leverkusen looking to remain in touching distance of Bayern Munich at the top. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have won their last two matches, including a 3-2 road win at Mainz on Wednesday. Striker Timo Werner leads the team with 15 goals, while midfielder Emil Forsberg leads the league in assists with 13. Bayer Leverkusen sits in 10th-place and will look to make it back-to-back league wins before a date with Bayern Munich next weekend.

Friday

  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Werder Bremen

Saturday

  • Schalke 04 vs. VfL Wolfsburg
  • FC Koln vs. Borussia Monchengladbach
  • Hamburg SV vs. 1899 Hoffenheim
  • SC Freiburg vs. FSV Mainz
  • RB Leipzig vs. Bayer Levekusen
  • Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund

Sunday

  • Hertha Berlin vs. FC Augsburg
  • Ingolstadt vs. SV Darmstadt

 

ITALIAN SERIE A

Italian leaders Juventus will like to cap a great week by defeating Chievo Verona on Saturday at home. Massimiliano Allegri’s side already booked their place into the Coppa Italia final earlier this week, defeating Napoli, 5-4, over two legs. They will put their 11-match unbeaten run to the test at home against a mid-table opponent. Chievo sits in 11th, but have lost their last two and three of their last four in league play.

Sunday’s early fixture comes from Genova as Sampdoria welcomes Fiorentina to the Luigi Ferraris Stadium. Seven points separate the sides in the table, with Fiorentina in eighth and Sampdoria in ninth. The hosts defeated Inter Milan, 2-1, last Monday, while Fiorentina is unbeaten in their last five domestically. A pair of top strikers will be on display as Sampdoria looks to Luis Muriel while Fiorentina has Nikola Kalinic.

The Olimpico will be rocking on Sunday afternoon as Lazio welcomes Napoli to town. The hosts are coming off a huge two-legged victory in the Coppa Italia semifinals against Roma midweek which has sent them to June’s final. In league-play, Lazio has not lost a match since  Jan. 28. Striker Ciro Immobile is one of the league’s top finishers, netting 18 goals so far. Napoli exited the Coppa Italia semifinals midweek, but still have a lot to play for in league-play. Maurizio Sarri’s side sit in third, but a loss on Sunday could open the door for Lazio, who would then be a point behind them.

Saturday

  • Empoli vs. Pescara
  • Atalanta vs. Sassuolo
  • Juventus vs. Chievo Verona

Sunday

  • Sampdoria vs. Fiorentina
  • Bologna vs. AS Roma
  • Cagliari vs. Torino
  • Crotone vs. Inter Milan
  • A.C. Milan vs. Palermo
  • Udinese vs. Genoa
  • Lazio vs. Napoli

 

FRENCH LIGUE 1

The Ligue 1 weekend action kicks off on Friday as third-place Nice travels to Lille. Nice defeated Bordeaux, 2-1, last Sunday, and are unbeaten in their last eight matches overall. Striker Mario Balotelli has 11 goals this season, while midfielder Valentin Eysseric has been an influential player in Nice’s build-up play. 13th-place Lille will look to pull the upset at home, after coming off two victories in their last three matches. A victory paired with other results this weekend could see Lille inch closer to mid-table.

Following their 4-1 defeat in the Coupe de la Ligue final last weekend against PSG, Ligue 1 leaders Monaco travel to Angers on Saturday looking to have a short memory. Leonardo Jardim’s side have won their last four league fixtures, and will look to continue their run towards a league crown. 18-year-old Kylian Mbappe has been a huge surprise for Monaco, netting 12 league goals so far. Angers is coming off a 2-1 road loss at Nantes last Sunday, and will look to make it four straight home wins.

In a battle of second vs. eighth, PSG returns to the Parc des Princes to face Guingamp in Sunday’s late match. Unai Emery’s side are coming off a 4-1 Coupe de la Ligue success over Monaco last Saturday, and will look to carry that momentum back into league play. Striker Edinson Cavani leads the team with 27 goals this season, while midfielders Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler have been huge for PSG in distribution. Guingamp defeated Nancy 1-0 last Friday, and will look for their first road league victory since Oct. 22nd.

Friday

  • Lille vs. Nice

Saturday

  • Angers vs. Monaco
  • Nancy vs. Rennes
  • Bordeaux vs. Metz
  • OL Lyon vs. Lorient
  • Dijon vs. Bastia
  • Caen vs. Montpellier

Sunday

  • Toulouse vs. Marseille
  • Saint-Etienne vs. Nantes
  • Paris Saint-Germain vs. Guingamp

 

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