A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Sunday:
Still reeling from three consecutive losses in all competitions, Paris Saint-Germain looks to bounce back against Lille in the league. PSG has been struggling since the start of the year, with stars Neymar and Lionel Messi underperforming. Neymar has been on the end of sharp criticism for a perceived lack of commitment after French media reported that he attended a poker tournament and dined at a fast-food restaurant a day after PSG lost to Bayern Munich 1-0 at the Parc des Princes in the Champions League round of 16. According to the French league, PSG has not lost four games in a row in more than two decades. Another loss would spark its biggest crisis since Qatari investors took over in 2011.
Manchester United tries to strengthen its grip on third place in the Premier League when it hosts Leicester. Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer are back for United after missing the midweek Europa League match against Barcelona because of suspensions. Manager Erik ten Hag insisted his players won’t be distracted by the uncertainty surrounding the club ownership, with two bidders competing to buy out the Glazer family. Tottenham will again be without manager Antonio Conte, who is recovering from surgery to remove his gallbladder, in the London derby against West Ham. Spurs are out to revive their challenge for a top-four spot.
Barcelona hosts Cadiz amid an uproar in local soccer after it became publicly known this week that a state prosecutor is probing Barcelona’s payment of millions of dollars over several years to a company that belonged to the vice president of the country’s refereeing committee. Barcelona has denied any wrongdoing and says it was paying for reports on referees and never tried to influence their decisions in games. Barcelona leads the league but Real Madrid closed to within five points after winning at Osasuna 2-0 on Saturday. Barcelona will be without the injured Pedri González, but fellow midfielder Sergio Busquets returns after injury. Manager Xavi Hernández could rest some regular starters before visiting Manchester United next week with their Europa League playoff poised at 2-2 after the opening leg. Atletico Madrid hosts Athletic Bilbao wanting to consolidate its hold on fourth place. Sevilla will try to string together three wins in a row for the first time this season when it visits Rayo Vallecano. Last-placed Elche plays Espanyol after just one win in 21 rounds.
It’s capital clubs versus Ruhr rivals as Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga title challengers hope to take advantage of the 10-time defending champion’s 3-2 loss at Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday. Union Berlin can take over the lead – and move two points above Bayern – by beating last-placed Schalke at home, and Borussia Dortmund can move level with Bayern on points with a win over visiting Hertha Berlin. Union and Dortmund have won all of their six Bundesliga games this year. Union celebrated reaching its season target of 40 points for league survival last weekend and has had to set new goals after surprising all with its success. But Schalke has been showing signs of improvement after drawing its last three league games. Also, Bayer Leverkusen hosts Mainz.
Atalanta, Roma and Lazio seek to continue their push for the Champions League spots in Serie A. Atalanta and Roma are three points below third-placed AC Milan and they host Lecce and Hellas Verona respectively. Lazio is two points further back and visits struggling Salernitana. Roma has won just one of its past five matches in all competitions, while a resurgent Verona has given itself hope of avoiding relegation. It has lost just one of its past seven matches to inch to within two points of safety. A win in the capital would move Verona out of the bottom three if Spezia also loses at home to Juventus. Fiorentina will be hoping for a good result at home to Empoli to avoid being dragged into a relegation fight.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.