A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:
Manchester City’s quadruple quest resumes with a difficult trip to third-place Leicester. Pep Guardiola’s City needs only 14 points from its last eight games to wrap up a third Premier League title in four years. Leicester is chasing a double over the leaders after a stunning 5-2 win at the Etihad Stadium in September. Former City striker Kelechi Iheanacho is in fine form after scoring seven goals in his last four games for Leicester. Saturday also sees a rare meeting of Arsenal and Liverpool when neither team is in the top four. Liverpool’s hopes of retaining the title have not only been shattered since the turn of the year but, having slipped to seventh, the champions are now in serious danger of missing out on making the Champions League next season. That’s unless they lift the European Cup for a seventh time, with Real Madrid next up in the upcoming quarterfinals. Arsenal is four points behind Liverpool in ninth. Sheffield United has seemed resigned to relegation for some time and West Bromwich Albion also now appears to be approaching the point of no return to stay in the league. Last-place Sheffield United takes on Leeds, which is 11th. West Brom, which is 10 points from safety, travels to fourth-place Chelsea.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti is out injured for the table-topping clash with second-place Lille, which trails defending champion PSG only on goal difference. Verratti hurt his left thigh playing for Italy, and PSG will reassess his fitness on Sunday. PSG plays at Bayern Munich on Wednesday in the first leg of the quarterfinals of the Champions League. PSG is also without striker Mauro Icardi, midfielder Danilo Pereira and left back Layvin Kurzawa through injury. The top four sides are all in action. Monaco can move up to third place and drop Lyon down to fourth if it beats ninth-place Metz at home and Lyon does not win at fifth-place Lens. Lyon forward Memphis Depay scored twice for the Netherlands this week but must get his club form back after being the team’s best player for much of the season.
Real Madrid hosts Eibar in the Spanish league ahead of important matches against Liverpool and Barcelona. Madrid plays Liverpool on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals, and faces Barcelona next weekend in a match key to its hopes of retaining the Spanish league title. Madrid is in third place, six points behind leader Atlético Madrid and two points behind Barcelona. Sergio Ramos will miss the upcoming matches due to a left-leg injury. Also in the league, Villarreal visits Granada, while Getafe is at Osasuna. Basque Country clubs Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad meet in the final of the 2020 Copa del Rey that was delayed from the end of last season due to the pandemic. The final will be played in Seville.
AC Milan kicks off a packed day in Serie A knowing that it needs a win against Sampdoria to keep alive its faltering title challenge. All 10 Serie A matches are taking place on the same day due to Easter Sunday. Milan is six points behind leader Inter Milan and has played a match more than its city rival. The Nerazzurri close the day when they visit Bologna. Third-place Juventus is 10 points behind Inter and anything but a win in the derby at Torino would put first-time coach Andrea Pirlo under even more pressure. Atalanta is level with Juve, although it has played a match more, and hosts Udinese. Napoli, Roma and Lazio all still have hopes of finishing in the top four and they play Crotone, Sassuolo and Spezia, respectively. Genoa hosts Fiorentina with neither side fully clear of danger, while relegation-threatened Parma visits Benevento. Cagliari is also in the drop zone and hosts Hellas Verona.
Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick has to make up for the absence of three players for a potential title-decider at Leipzig. Bayern is already four points clear of Leipzig in the Bundesliga and a win would put the defending champions on course for a record-extending ninth consecutive title with a seven-point cushion for the remaining seven games. But top scorer Robert Lewandowski is out and so are the suspended Alphonso Davies and Jerome Boateng. Flick also needs to rally players returning from Germany’s surprise loss to North Macedonia in World Cup qualifying. Leipzig’s Angeliño, Marcel Halstenberg and Kevin Kampl are all out, and Dayot Upamecano may miss the game against his future teammates. Also Saturday, Borussia Dortmund hosts Eintracht Frankfurt for a duel with Champions League qualification at stake. Among other games, Bayer Leverkusen welcomes last-place Schalke, and Borussia Mönchengladbach hosts Freiburg.
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