A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:
Arsenal has to regroup quickly after losing Wednesday’s Premier League meeting with Manchester City as the London club travels to Aston Villa for a lunchtime kickoff against its former manager Unai Emery’s team. Man City then plays Nottingham Forest as one of six 3 p.m. kickoffs, with the defending champions looking to stay atop the table after going ahead of Arsenal on goal difference. Chelsea tries to arrest its recent slump when it hosts struggling Southampton, while Newcastle hopes to strengthen its bid for a top-four finish when it hosts Liverpool in the late game.
Karim Benzema will rest ahead of Real Madrid’s trip to Anfield when it visits Osasuna needing a win to keep in sight of Barcelona at the top of the Spanish league. Benzema was dropped from Carlo Ancelotti’s squad because of fatigue. Toni Kroos will also rest this weekend before Madrid’s round-of-16 game at Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday. But goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is back after recovering from an injury that had sidelined him for four games. Top scorer Vinícius Júnior also returns after a one-game suspension. Third-place Real Sociedad hosts Celta Vigo and fifth-place Real Betis welcomes Valladolid. Villarreal is at Mallorca.
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Yann Sommer makes a quick return to Borussia Mönchengladbach one month after his switch between the sides. Bayern, which leads the Bundesliga by a point from Union Berlin, hasn’t won any of its last four games against Gladbach, including the 5-0 rout in the German Cup last season. But Sommer is on the other side now. Earlier this season, he made a Bundesliga record 19 saves for Gladbach to keep Bayern at bay in a 1-1 draw. Wolfsburg hosts Leipzig, Freiburg visits Bochum, and Stuttgart welcomes Cologne before Eintracht Frankfurt hosts Werder Bremen in the late game.
Monza owner Silvio Berlusconi prepares to welcome his old team AC Milan in Serie A. Berlusconi, along with current Monza CEO Adriano Galliani, oversaw 29 trophies in 31 years at Milan before selling the club in 2017. He bought Monza the following year. Milan received a much-needed confidence boost by beating Tottenham in the Champions League midweek. That came after it beat Torino to end a seven-match winless run. Milan is fifth in Serie A but below Roma and Atalanta on goal difference alone. Head-to-head is the first tiebreaker at the end of the season. Milan is three points below second-place Inter Milan, which hosts Udinese. Inter was held to a 0-0 draw at struggling Sampdoria on Monday. Sampdoria will be hoping to build on that result and inch closer to safety when it hosts Bologna.
Nice will again be missing striker Nicolas Pepe, who is out with a knee injury, against Reims in the French league. Nice has won five of its last six league matches and is aiming for a fifth consecutive victory in its bid to qualify for a European competition next season. Just four points behind Nice in the standings, 10th-place Reims has also been enjoying a good run of form and is unbeaten in 13 games since appointing Will Still as coach. Strasbourg hosts Angers in Saturday’s other match.
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