A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:
Premier League leader Chelsea will have to cope without its two first-choice strikers for the visit of last-place Norwich. Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner were injured in the Champions League in midweek, leaving Kai Havertz as the only remaining option up front likely for a few weeks. Manchester City is two points behind Chelsea in third place and faces a tough trip to Brighton, which is in fourth and has been one of the surprises of the season. Newcastle, now under Saudi ownership and without a permanent manager following the firing of Steve Bruce, heads to Crystal Palace in search of a first win of the season. Burnley is also without a victory going into an away match at Southampton. Claudio Ranieri takes charge of his second game as Watford manager, at Everton, and will be hoping for a much-improved performance compared to the 5-0 home loss to Liverpool last weekend.
AC Milan looks to extend its unbeaten start in Serie A when the Rossoneri visit eighth-place Bologna. Milan was beaten 1-0 by Porto on Tuesday to mark the first time that the seven-time champion has lost the first three matches in the group stage of the Champions League. But the Italian league has been a different story for Milan, which has Zlatan Ibrahimovic rounding back into form after an injury layoff. Also, last-place Salernitana hosts Empoli in its first match since replacing Fabrizio Castori with Stefano Colantuono as coach; and Sassuolo hosts promoted Venezia.
Bayern Munich is set to be without coach Julian Nagelsmann against Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga. Nagelsmann missed Bayern’s 4-0 win over Benfica on Wednesday, though he was sending instructions remotely, and the club said a day later he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Second-place Dortmund visits Arminia Bielefeld. After a 3-2 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, Leipzig can target a morale-boosting win when it hosts promoted Greuther Fürth. Wolfsburg aims to halt its seven-game winless run against Freiburg, and Hertha Berlin takes on Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Defending champion Lille has been lacking consistency this season and already trails Paris Saint-Germain by 13 points after 10 matches. The Northern side reassured itself midweek with a gritty goalless draw with Sevilla in the Champions League and wants to build on the momentum against struggling Brest. Coach Jocelyn Gourvennec will also use the game to prepare for next week’s showcase game at PSG. Nantes hosts Clermont in Saturday’s other match.
Unai Emery’s Villarreal seeks its first win at Athletic Bilbao in 10 seasons when it visits San Mamés Stadium. Villarreal outspent every other club in Spain except for Atlético Madrid last summer to boost a squad that was coming off a Europa League title. But the results have been disappointing. Villareal enters the weekend in 12th place. While Villarreal plays its third game in seven days, it will be Bilbao’s first game in three weeks after last round’s match against Real Madrid was postponed to allow for Madrid’s players with South American nations more rest following an international break. Espanyol visits Elche aiming for a third straight win after upsetting Real Madrid and downing Cádiz. Valencia hopes to end a five-game winless streak at home against Mallorca, while Cádiz welcomes Alavés with both teams struggling with only one win each this season.
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