MATCHDAY: Chelsea visits Dortmund; Arsenal hosts Man City

A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Wednesday:



Graham Potter and Chelsea head to Germany for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 matchup. The game pits surging Dortmund against a Chelsea team that isn’t yet getting the results on the field to match its lavish January spending on the likes of João Félix, Enzo Fernández and Mykhailo Mudryk. Chelsea has drawn its last three games and has only one win in 2023. Dortmund could give a European debut to striker Sébastien Haller, who joined the club from Ajax at the start of the season but didn’t play until January because he was undergoing treatment for testicular cancer. However, Dortmund is without forward Youssoufa Moukoko because of an ankle injury.


Brugge has not won a single match at home since coach Scott Parker was appointed at the end of December. The Belgian champions have been struggling domestically after qualifying for the knocking stage of the Champions League for the first time in three decades. That poor run of matches led to the firing of previous coach Carl Hoefkens. Striker Ferran Jutgla and winger Tajon Buchanan are doubtful with injuries for the first leg of Brugge’s round of 16 match against Benfica. The Portuguese powerhouse returns to the Champions League without Enzo Fernández following his transfer to Chelsea. Benfica is unbeaten in its last seven games in the Champions League, with four wins and three draws. It will try to win three in a row in the European competition for the first time since the 2005-06 season.


Arsenal and Manchester City — the Premier League’s top two — meet for the first time in league play this season with three points separating the teams in an increasingly fascinating tussle for the title. Arsenal is winless in its last two games. It’s the first time this season that Mikel Arteta’s team has gone back-to-back games without a victory. City, the defending champion seeking a fifth title in the last six seasons, might be sensing that this is the moment to strike. A win at Emirates Stadium would lift City into first place on goal difference though Arsenal has a game in hand. Erling Haaland is a doubt for City after coming off at halftime in the 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Sunday with what manager Pep Guardiola called a “kick.” Leandro Trossard, a scorer off the bench against Brentford, is pushing for a spot in Arsenal’s starting lineup at the expense of Gabriel Martinelli.


Coming off a trip to Morocco where it won another Club World Cup, Real Madrid hosts last-place Elche in the Spanish league looking to cut Barcelona’s lead to eight points. The defending league champion Madrid has one win from its last three matches in the competition. It lost 1-0 at Mallorca in its last league game. Forward Vinícius Júnior won’t play because of a suspension on accumulation of yellow cards. Coach Carlo Ancelotti said Rodrygo, another Brazilian forward, will replace him. Elche is 12 points from safety but is boosted by its first league win of the season against Villarreal on Saturday.


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