A look at what’s happening around European soccer on Friday:
Borussia Mönchengladbach hopes to take advantage of Bayern Munich’s defensive frailties. Bayern has conceded first in each of its last eight Bundesliga games and uncharacteristically let in 21 goals in 14 league games so far. It hasn’t conceded that many at this stage of the Bundesliga since Jürgen Klinsmann was in charge in 2008. Gladbach coach Marco Rose is aware of the defending champions’ problems. “Of course we look in our analysis to see where there’s room we can use,” Rose said. “Everyone knows that Bayern likes to push up and defend high because it often helps them enforce their dominance with the ball.” Bayern didn’t lose any of the eight games despite conceding first.
Liverpool’s FA Cup game against Aston Villa is in doubt after Villa on Thursday reported a significant coronavirus outbreak that forced it to close its training ground. Villa could have to play youth team players as Derby is doing against Chorley in the third round following a spate of COVID-19 cases. Premier League champion Liverpool has not won in three games after failing to beat both West Bromwich and Newcastle before losing to Southampton. In another cup meeting of Premier League clubs in the third round, Wolverhampton Wanderers hosts Crystal Palace. Patrick Cutrone and Morgan Gibbs-White could be included in the Wolves squad after being recalled from loans.
Celta Vigo hosts Villarreal in the league after a humbling loss to a third-tier team in the Copa del Rey. Celta, which lost 5-2 at Ibiza, had been on an excellent run in December under new coach Eduardo Coudet will face fifth-place Villarreal without striker Iago Aspas and forward Manuel “Nolito” Agudo, both injured. Aspas is expected to be out several weeks with a right-leg muscle injury. Aspas is the league’s joint-top scorer with nine goals alongside Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, and Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno.
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