European Weekend Preview: Man City hosts Chelsea, Bayern battles Schalke, and more

European Weekend Preview: Man City hosts Chelsea, Bayern battles Schalke, and more

European Soccer

European Weekend Preview: Man City hosts Chelsea, Bayern battles Schalke, and more

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Manchester City made the most of a schedule change to boost themselves back atop the Premier League. Now with momentum in their favor, the defending league champs take on Chelsea this Sunday in a headlining showdown at the Etihad.

The Citizens jumped back into first place thanks to a 2-0 league win over Everton on Wednesday. Aymeric Laporte and Gabriel Jesus scored the goals in the triumph, which puts Man City ahead of Liverpool on goal difference. However, Chelsea has knocked off the Citizens once this season and will be eager to keep themselves in the title race. A 5-0 hammering of Huddersfield Town saw Gonzalo Higuaín and Eden Hazard lead the way with braces apiece. A win for Chelsea will see them four points back of third-place Tottenham.

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

English Premier League

Sunday’s earlier match sees Tottenham Hotspur welcome Leicester City to Wembley Stadium. Mauricio Pochettino’s side are five points back of the top-two teams in the EPL and are coming off back-to-back league wins of their own. With Harry Kane still recovering from injury, the focus will be on Son Heung-Min who has 10 goals in league play this campaign.

Leicester are on a tough run of form, losing four of their last five matches in all competitions. Claude Puel’s side lost 1-0 to Manchester United last weekend, dropping them into 11th place. Jamie Vardy always provides a spark on the offensive end, however the Foxes will need to do a lot of stubborn defending to leave London with points.

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

Saturday

  • Fulham vs. Manchester United
  • Watford vs. Everton
  • Huddersfield Town vs. Arsenal
  • Southampton vs. Cardiff City
  • Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United
  • Liverpool vs. Bournemouth
  • Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Burnley

Sunday

  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Leicester City
  • Manchester City vs. Chelsea

Monday

  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Newcastle United

Spanish La Liga

Headlining La Liga play this weekend is the Madrid Derby at the Wando Metropolitano between Atletico and Real Madrid. Two points separate the sides in the league table with Los Blancos knowing a win will boost them into second place.

Diego Simeone’s men suffered their second league defeat of the season on Feb. 3rd against Real Betis. Atletico was shutout for the first time since Sept. 29th when they drew 0-0 against Real Madrid in the team’s first meeting. Antoine Griezmann leads the bunch with 10 goals and seven assists while Jan Oblak is one of the world’s top goalkeepers.

Real are coming into the match from a 1-1 El Clasico draw in the Copa Del Rey semifinals. Lucas Vazquez scored the lone goal in Wednesday’s first leg which snapped Real’s five match winning run in all competitions. Karim Benzema has 10 goals this season and will be a physical factor for Real Madrid offensively, should their wide players be limited.

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

Friday

  • Valladolid vs. Villarreal

Saturday

  • Getafe vs. Celta Vigo
  • Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid
  • Espanyol vs. Rayo Vallecano
  • Girona vs. Huesca

Sunday

  • Leganes vs. Real Betis
  • Valencia vs. Real Sociedad
  • Sevilla vs. Eibar
  • Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona

Monday

  • Alaves vs. Levante

German Bundesliga

Saturday’s matinee comes from the Allianz Arena with Bayern Munich hosting Schalke. Niko Kovac’s side clinched a berth in the German DFB Pokal quarterfinals with a 3-2 road win over Hertha Berlin on Wednesday. As for the league, Bayern still is chasing leaders Borussia Dortmund who are seven points clear. Robert Lewandowski has 12 goals while Leon Goretzka has been a nice supplement with six goals.

Schalke also advanced in cup play with a 4-1 hammering of Fortuna Dusseldorf on Wednesday. Salif Sane led the way with a brace while two additional players got on the scoresheet. Despite being in 12th place, Schalke has shown strong effort defensively against some of the better teams in Germany’s top-flight. Sane and Weston McKennie should have busy afternoons against a dangerous Bayern front.

Borussia Dortmund kicks off the day with a home fixture against Hoffenheim looking to extend their lead at the top. Despite their German Cup exit on Tuesday, Dortmund are four matches unbeaten in the Bundesliga with wins over Borussia Monchengladbach and RB Leipzig. Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer have both hit the double-figure mark this season for goals scored, while Jadon Sancho is a deadly two-way player.

Hoffenheim have taken points in their last two matches and will seek to advance on their eighth place spot. Andrej Kramaric will be a handful for the Dortmund backline as he tries to add to his nine league goals. Should the Croatian be kept quiet, Reiss Nelson and Joelinton provide options off the bench.

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

Friday

  • Mainz vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Saturday

  • Hannover vs. Nuremburg
  • Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Hertha Berlin
  • RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Borussia Dortmund vs. Hoffenheim
  • Freiburg vs. Wolfsburg
  • Bayern Munich vs. Schalke

Sunday

  • Werder Bremen vs. Augsburg
  • Fortuna Dusseldorf vs. VfB Stuttgart

Italian Serie A

A pair of Serie A’s top ten teams will face off on Saturday as Fiorentina entertains Napoli at home. The hosts are unbeaten in six straight across all comps, but have only won one league match in their last four. Marco Benassi has seven goals for Fiorentina but the team will need more help in order to knock off Napoli.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side are nine points back of Juventus for the top spot in Serie A. After being eliminated from the Coppa Italia, Napoli rebounded with a 3-0 hammering of Sampdoria last weekend. Arkadiusz Milik, Lorenzo Insigne, and Simone Verdi all found the back of the net in the lopsided win. Milik leads the team with 12 goals while Dries Mertens and Insigne each has eight apiece.

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

Thursday

  • Lazio vs. Empoli

Friday

  • Chievo Verona vs. AS Roma

Saturday

  • Fiorentina vs. Napoli
  • Parma vs. Inter Milan

Sunday

  • Bologna vs. Genoa
  • Sampdoria vs. Frosinone
  • Atalanta vs. Spal
  • Torino vs. Udinese
  • Sassuolo vs. Juventus
  • AC Milan vs. Cagliari

French Ligue 1

Sunday’s finale is the top match this weekend in France with Nice squaring off with Lyon. Lyon are unbeaten in their last eight matches in all comps, most recently handing PSG their first league loss of the season. Moussa Dembele and Nabil Fekir scored last weekend, erasing an early opener from Angel Di Maria. The pair has 14 league goals between them this campaign.

Nice are in ninth place but recently were hammered by Lille 4-0 away from home. The defeat ended an unbeaten run of four matches for Patrick Vieira’s side who knows a win will give them 10 for the season. Allan Saint-Maximin leads the team with six goals but the rest of the team only has 12 combined. That will need to change for Nice to have a chance on Sunday at home.

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

Friday

  • Dijon vs. Marseille

Saturday

  • PSG vs. Bordeaux
  • Amiens vs. Caen
  • Strasbourg vs. Angers

Sunday

  • Montpellier vs. AS Monaco
  • Toulouse vs. Stade Reims
  • Nantes vs. Nimes
  • Guingamp vs. Lille
  • Rennes vs. St. Etienne
  • Nice vs. Lyon

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