A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:
The Premier League title race resumes with leader Manchester City and second-placed Liverpool in action. Liverpool hosts relegation-threatened Watford in the first of seven matches on the day. Right back Trent Alexander-Arnold might play now that he’s recovered from a hamstring injury. City leads Liverpool by one point and travels to Burnley — before the defending champion hosts Liverpool on April 10. Chelsea hosts Brentford in a west London derby with the Blues looking to solidify their hold on a Champions League spot. Leeds will try to make it three wins in a row when Southampton visits. Norwich is at Brighton, and Wolverhampton hosts Aston Villa. The final match of the day is at Old Trafford, where Manchester United hosts Leicester. United center back Harry Maguire was in the news this week when he was booed by some England fans in a friendly at Wembley Stadium.
Six points separate Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich and second-placed Borussia Dortmund with seven rounds remaining. Both are in action against potential Champions League qualifiers: Bayern visits fifth-placed Freiburg before Dortmund hosts fourth-placed Leipzig. If Freiburg does Dortmund a favor in the early game, Marco Rose’s team can return it later as both Freiburg and Leipzig are level on points. Relegation candidate Hertha Berlin visits third-placed Bayer Leverkusen in Felix Magath’s second game as Hertha coach. Magath missed the first due to a coronavirus infection but will take his place on the sideline after recovering. Arminia Bielefeld hosts Stuttgart for another relegation battle. Stuttgart is level on points with Hertha and just a point ahead of Bielefeld, which has lost its last four games without scoring. Last-placed Greuther Fürth visits Eintracht Frankfurt and Hoffenheim welcomes Bochum.
There is much at stake for Saint-Etienne and Marseille when they meet in the biggest grudge match in French soccer. The country’s two most popular clubs face off at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard with Saint-Etienne looking for points at home in its fight against relegation and Marseille looking for a victory that would cement its second place behind leader Paris Saint-Germain. Following a pitiful start to the season, Saint-Etienne has been inspired by the hiring in December of coach Pascal Dupraz. It has lost just one of its past eight matches to climb into the relegation playoff place. With nine matches left, Marseille has just a one-point lead over third-placed Rennes and has no room for error in its bid to seal direct qualification for next season’s Champions League. Saint-Etienne — which has 10 league titles to its name, one more than Marseille — dominated French soccer during the 1960s and ’70s, with the Mediterranean club becoming one of its strongest rivals after regaining a spot in the top-flight in 1966.
Real Madrid visits Celta Vigo without coach Carlo Ancelotti after he tested positive for COVID-19. Madrid has had two weeks to stew over its humbling 4-0 loss at home to Barcelona before the international break. Now it seeks a win to maintain its comfortable lead of La Liga before it prepares for next week’s Champions League clash at Chelsea. League top scorer Karim Benzema missed the match against Barcelona with a left-leg injury. Madrid leads Sevilla by nine points. Celta forward Santi Mina will suit up for the game a day after a trial accusing him of raping a woman concluded. The verdict is due in a few weeks. Atlético Madrid and Villarreal are also in action before starting their respective Champions League quarterfinals. Atlético hosts Alavés seeking a sixth consecutive victory in the domestic competition before heading to Manchester City. Villarreal visits bottom side Levante to warm up for its home game against Bayern Munich. Mallorca also visits Getafe needing a win to escape the relegation battle and pull level on points with the hosts.
Lazio will be looking to boost its bid for a European spot when it hosts Sassuolo in Serie A. Seventh-placed Lazio is two points behind Atalanta and Roma, which it lost to in the capital derby before the international break. Some of the blame for Italy’s failure to make the World Cup has been placed on forward Ciro Immobile but the Lazio captain has four goals in his past six matches for his club. At the other end of the table, Spezia hosts Venezia in a relegation battle. Spezia has seven points more than 18th-placed Venezia, which could climb out of the bottom three with a win. Also, bottom club Salernitana welcomes mid-table Torino.
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