Soccer weekend: New Barcelona coach, Liverpool faces Man U
LONDON (AP) — What to watch for in the leading soccer competitions in Europe this weekend:
Quique Setién will make his debut as Barcelona coach in the Spanish league against Granada at the Camp Nou Stadium on Sunday.
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu replaced Ernesto Valverde with Setién this week to give the club “an extra push” in the second half of the season.
Setién inherited the team at the top of the league standings, ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference. Madrid, coming off winning the Spanish Super Cup final, has a home game against fourth-placed Sevilla on Saturday.
Sevilla is five points behind the leaders, tied on points with third-placed Atlético Madrid, which visits relegation-threatened Eibar later Saturday.
By Tales Azzoni in Madrid
Liverpool and United meet at Anfield on Sunday on what is traditionally regarded as the biggest game on the English soccer calendar, with the clubs having won more domestic and European titles than any other in the country.
Liverpool holds a 14-point lead and has won 20 of its 21 games, its only dropped points coming in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in October.
United is fifth in the standings, five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification.
Leicester is away to Burnley on Sunday.
Bayern Munich’s bid to overhaul Bundesliga leader Leipzig after the winter break begins at Hertha Berlin on Sunday.
Hertha coach Jürgen Klinsmann will hopefully have found his coaching license before the game against his former team, while counterpart Hansi Flick’s concerns have been centered on a squad thinned by injuries. Bayern will be hoping star striker Robert Lewandowski shows no ill effects from a groin operation on Dec. 21.
Lewandowski has 19 goals in 17 games and a record-extending eighth Bundesliga title seems unthinkable without the Polish forward in form.
Bayern is four points behind Leipzig (37 points), which is also looking over its shoulder at Borussia Mönchengladbach (35) and Borussia Dortmund (30).
Leipzig hosts promoted Union Berlin on Saturday after Dortmund visits Augsburg.
Gladbach begins the second half of the season at Schalke (30) on Friday.
By Ciarán Fahey in Munich.
Juventus has started 2020 with goals — lots of them.
The Bianconeri have scored 10 in their past three matches, in all competitions, and are alone at the top of the Serie A standings.
Inter Milan is two points below Juventus and visits relegation-threatened Lecce earlier in the day.
By Daniella Matar in Milan.
Lorient is next in line to face Paris Saint-Germain’s fearsome scoring quartet in the French Cup.
The second division leader must somehow cope with an attack which has netted 36 goals in eight games to stand any chance of reaching the last 16.
Meanwhile, there’s another 6,000-mile journey for Reunion island side JS Saint-Pierroise. After previously knocking out second-division Niort, the players again travel from off the east coast of Africa to face fourth-division Épinal on Saturday.
Marseille, second in the French league, needed penalties against a minnow in the last round and will expect a more professional job away to fourth-division Granville on Friday.
By Jerome Pugmire in Paris