European Weekend Preview: Barcelona hosts Real Madrid, Liverpool faces Chelsea, and more

European Weekend Preview: Barcelona hosts Real Madrid, Liverpool faces Chelsea, and more

European Soccer

European Weekend Preview: Barcelona hosts Real Madrid, Liverpool faces Chelsea, and more

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The European domestic season may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean the excitement will take a break this coming weekend as El Clasico takes centerstage on Sunday with Barcelona hosting Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.

Ernesto Valverde’s men have already claimed the La Liga and Copa Del Rey titles, and would love to sweep the season series against their biggest rivals. Barcelona rolled past Madrid 3-0 at the Bernabeu earlier this season, and are likely favorites to claim three points this weekend. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have combined for 55 league goals so far this campaign.

Real Madrid may not have any league trophies this season, but they will have the chance to play for another Champions League title later this month. Zinedine Zidane’s men eliminated Bayern Munich in the semifinals midweek, and now will face Liverpool on May 26th in Kiev for the final. Cristiano Ronaldo did not score in the semifinal round, but does have five goals in his last six matches since the start of April.

Elsewhere in Europe, Liverpool travels to Chelsea in Premier League play while Arsenal hosts Burnley. In Germany, Hoffenheim travels to Stuttgart in a top-half clash in the Bundesliga. Napoli’s title hopes in Serie A relies on the hosts grabbing a win against Torino, while Nice travels to Marseille in Ligue 1.

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

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Two historic clubs in England’s top-flight will do battle on Sunday as Liverpool travels to Chelsea. The Blues are sitting in fifth place still clinging to a chance for a top-four finish. Antonio Conte’s men are winners of their last four matches, keeping clean sheets in two of those four. The sides shared the points in a 1-1 draw at Anfield back in November.

Liverpool are coming off a dramatic 7-6 aggregate victory over Roma in the UEFA Champions League semifinals, which sees them advance to the final against Real Madrid. Mohamed Salah has 43 goals in all competitions this season, including 31 in league play. The Egyptian will look to further his grasp on the Golden Boot, leading Harry Kane by four.

Three points separate Arsenal and Burnley in the race for sixth place as the sides prepare for a showdown in London on Sunday. Arsene Wenger’s men fell 2-1 at Manchester United last weekend, giving them 12 league losses on the season. French striker Alexandre Lacazette leads the Gunners with 13 league goals in 30 appearances. Burnley are winless in their last three matches, drawing at Stoke and against Brighton respectively. Austrian striker Ashley Barnes leads the team with nine goals this season, including two in his last three matches. Arsenal defeated Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor back in November, with then Alexis Sanchez scoring the game winner.

Here’s all of this weekend’s EPL fixtures:

Friday

  • Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Manchester United

Saturday

  • Stoke City vs. Crystal Palace
  • AFC Bournemouth vs. Swansea City
  • Leicester City vs. West Ham United
  • Watford vs. Newcastle United
  • West Bromwich Albion vs. Tottenham Hotspur
  • Everton vs. Southampton

Sunday

  • Manchester City vs. Huddersfield Town
  • Arsenal vs. Burnley
  • Chelsea vs. Liverpool

SPANISH LA LIGA

A pair of top-ten sides also do battle this weekend as Sevilla hosts Real Sociedad on Friday. Sevilla are on a horrid run of form, failing to win in their last nine matches across all competitions. The hosts have zero players who have reached double digits in league goals this season, but will look to Frenchman Wissam Ben Yedder to lead the line. Ben Yedder has 19 goals in all competitions, but only six in La Liga. Sociedad has moved up to 10th lately, earning victories in four out of their past five matches. During that span they have only conceded one, earning wins over Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao in the process. Brazilian striker Willian Jose leads the team with 14 goals, while Spaniard Mikel Oyarzabal has 11.

Here’s all of this weekend’s La Liga fixtures:

Friday

  • Sevilla vs. Real Sociedad

Saturday

  • Girona vs. Eibar
  • Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Betis
  • Celta Vigo vs. Deportivo
  • Villarreal vs. Valencia

Sunday

  • Malaga vs. Alaves
  • Atletico Madrid vs. Espanyol
  • Las Palmas vs. Getafe
  • Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

Monday

  • Leganes vs. Levante

GERMAN BUNDESLIGA

Hamburg will look to inch closer from relegation on Saturday as they travel to Eintracht Frankfurt. The visitors are two points from safety, sitting in 17th place and have two matches remaining. However, three wins out of their past four fixtures have increased morale at the club and the team will hope it continues this weekend. German midfielder Lewis Holtby leads the team with five goals, while American forward Bobby Wood got on the scoresheet last weekend. Frankfurt went the month of April winless in league action, losing four of their five fixtures. They currently are outside of the European qualification places and will need some points for a chance to change that. Marius Wolf has four goals and eight assists for Frankfurt this season.

Here’s all of this weekend’s Bundesliga fixtures:

Saturday

  • Borussia Dortmund vs. FSV Mainz
  • RB Leipzig vs. VfL Wolfsburg
  • FC Koln vs. Bayern Munich
  • Werder Bremen vs. Bayer Leverkusen
  • Borussia Monchengladbach vs. SC Freiburg
  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Hamburg SV
  • FC Augsburg vs. Schalke 04
  • Hannover 96 vs. Hertha Berlin
  • VfB Stuttgart vs. 1899 Hoffenheim

ITALIAN SERIE A

Defending league champs Juventus will clinch the Scudetto with a win at Bologna on Saturday and a Napoli loss to Torino on Sunday. Max Allegri’s men dug deep for a 3-2 away win at Inter Milan last weekend, giving them a four point cushion on Napoli in the table. Gonzalo Higuain has 16 league goals for Juventus, but only one in his last six matches for the Old Lady. Bologna are winless in their last three matches, losing most recently vs. AC Milan. For any chance at a point, Bologna will look to striker Simone Verdi who has eight goals and 10 assists.

If Napoli wants to remain in the Serie A title race then they will need three points at Torino this weekend. Maurizio Sarri’s men lost 3-0 at Fiorentina last weekend, which sees them four points back of Juventus with three matches remaining. Napoli defeated Torino 3-1 away from home back in December, with three different players getting on the scoresheet. Torino are winless in their last four matches, losing the most recent two of that span. Andrea Belotti has nine goals for Torino this season, and was on the scoresheet in the last meeting between these two clubs.

Here’s all of this weekend’s Serie A fixtures:

Saturday

  • AC Milan vs. Hellas Verona
  • Juventus vs. Bologna

Sunday

  • Udinese vs. Inter Milan
  • Lazio vs. Atalanta
  • Spal vs. Benevento
  • Chievo Verona vs. Crotone
  • Genoa vs. Fiorentina
  • Napoli vs. Torino
  • Sassuolo vs. Sampdoria
  • Cagliari vs. AS Roma

FRENCH LIGUE 1

Saturday’s action concludes in France with Marseille hosting Nice at the Stade Velodrone. Rudi Garcia’s men are in fourth place, and are unbeaten in their last six fixtures in all comps. A 1-1 road draw at Angers snapped their five match winning streak, in which Florian Thauvin scored his 20th league goal of the season. Thauvin has 24 goals and 15 assists in all comps this season. Nice are in seventh place and sitting on a five-match unbeaten run in league play. Mario Balotelli snapped a four match scoreless run with a goal at Strasbourg last weekend in a 1-1 draw.

Here’s all of this weekend’s Ligue 1 fixtures:

Friday

  • Amiens vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Saturday

  • St. Etienne vs. Bordeaux
  • Lyon vs. Troyes
  • Caen vs. AS Monaco
  • Dijon vs. Guingamp
  • Metz vs. Angers
  • Nantes vs. Montpellier
  • Rennes vs. Strasbourg
  • Toulouse vs. Lille
  • Marseille vs. Nice

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