A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Sunday:
The Derby d’Italia is always a hotly contested fight between two of the biggest teams in Italian soccer. But this time Juventus knows it can move above defending champion Inter Milan in what has become a thrilling title race. After a poor start to the season, Juventus is unbeaten in 16 consecutive league matches and sits just one point behind Inter, which has dropped to third after one win in its past seven matches. Victory would also see Juventus cut the gap to AC Milan to four points, with the Serie A leader not playing until Monday. Napoli can move level with Milan at the top – for 24 hours at least — with a win at Atalanta. Roma and Fiorentina are bidding for European spots and play Sampdoria and Empoli respectively. There is also a relegation fight as Udinese hosts Cagliari.
Barcelona hosts Sevilla with only three points separating the rivals fighting for second place in the league. Xavi Hernández has Barcelona playing its best of the season after winning five league games by a combined score of 18-2. That included a 4-0 win at leader Real Madrid in the last round before the international break. Barcelona will have all of its first-choice players available. Backup striker Luuk de Jong is out after testing positive for COVID-19. Sevilla has sputtered in recent weeks and is in danger of losing second place. Atlético Madrid has pulled even on points with Sevilla. Fifth-placed Real Betis hosts Osasuna needing a win to stay in the fight for a top-four finish and a Champions League berth. Betis will be without the suspended Nabil Fekir and the injured Sergio Canales and Borja Iglesias, three of its most important players in attack. Athletic Bilbao plays Elche trying to climb into the Europa League positions. Cádiz will try to edge away from the relegation zone with a win over Valencia, while Granada is also flirting with the drop before facing Rayo Vallecano.
Everton looks to push clear of the relegation zone in the Premier League with a win at West Ham, whose priorities might lie elsewhere in the remaining two months of the season. Frank Lampard’s Everton is one place and three points above the bottom three and going for a second straight victory in the league, after beating Newcastle 2 1/2 weeks ago with a stoppage-time goal. West Ham, which is six points off the Champions League qualification places, is playing against Lyon in a first-leg match in the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday so David Moyes has to decide whether to leave out key players. In the other match, Tottenham hosts Newcastle. Tottenham is three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, its fierce north London rival, in the race for Champions League qualification.
Augsburg’s bid to escape Bundesliga relegation begins with a home game against Wolfsburg before it welcomes Mainz for their coronavirus-postponed game on Wednesday. Augsburg is level on points with Hertha Berlin and Arminia Bielefeld, which are in the relegation zone due to their inferior goal difference, and it is a point behind Stuttgart. But Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl will be without regular forwards Michael Gregoritsch and André Hahn. Ruben Vargas is doubtful to play, meaning Weinzierl will have to place his trust in Florian Niederlechner and Ricardo Pepi. The former hasn’t scored since October and Pepi has yet to score since his winter switch from FC Dallas. Borussia Mönchengladbach hosts Mainz in the late game.
Runaway leader Paris Saint-Germain can move closer to a record 10th league title with a victory over lowly Lorient. PSG will rely on Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Angel Di Maria, who all scored during the international break. Fifth-placed Strasbourg has become a surprising contender in the race for European spots but will miss six injured players against Lens. Mid-table Lyon, which needs a strong finish to qualify for Europe, will be without an injured Maxence Caqueret against Angers but will be boosted by the recent signing of Brazilian winger Tete from Shakhtar Donetsk. Monaco needs a win at relegation-embattled Metz to make up ground in the race for Europe.
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