Title rivals Bayern, Leipzig meet in Germany
What to watch in the top leagues in European soccer this weekend:
Bayern Munich has hauled itself back to the top of the Bundesliga, and now comes its chance to deal a blow to its closest title rival.
Bayern and Leipzig are separated by one point ahead of their meeting in Munich on Sunday, and Leipzig has been looking vulnerable. The Red Bull-backed club hasn’t won any of its last three games in all competitions, was knocked out of the German Cup on Tuesday, and striker Timo Werner hasn’t been scoring.
However, Bayern’s defense looked fragile in its 4-3 win over Hoffenheim, repeatedly allowing the opposition back into the game.
Bayern is on track for its eighth consecutive Bundesliga title, but Leipzig and Werner have put up one of the toughest challenges of any team in recent years.
By James Ellingworth
Madrid has won eight straight games in 2020, and is unbeaten in 21 consecutive matches in all competitions going back to last year. The team hasn’t lost since a league match at Mallorca in October.
Second-place Barcelona, still struggling under new coach Quique Setién and with players and club directors at odds, visits Real Betis on Sunday. Barcelona’s problems in attack were compounded this week by the injury of Ousmane Dembele, who is likely to miss the rest of the season because of a hamstring problem. Luis Suárez is also out injured.
Atlético Madrid, struggling in sixth place, hosts Granada on Saturday.
By Tales Azzoni
There’s a truncated schedule in the Premier League this weekend as teams enjoy the first ever midseason break in English soccer.
The 26th round of games is being spread over two weekends to allow each team to have a two-week break from league play. Four games take place over Saturday and Sunday, with the other six staged from next Friday to the following Monday.
West Ham will begin the match in the relegation zone.
Another team in the bottom three, Watford, travels to Brighton, which is only two points above the relegation zone.
By Steve Douglas
Inter Milan is looking to keep up its Serie A title challenge in the Milan derby on Sunday.
On Saturday, Juventus visits Hellas Verona, which is on a seven-game unbeaten run and up to ninth place, only one point behind Milan.
By Andrew Dampf
Neymar hurt his ribs playing against Montpellier last weekend and sat out a league game on Tuesday.
With a Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund on Feb. 18, PSG coach Thomas Tuchel may prefer to rest Neymar. It could mean a rare start this season for Edinson Cavani, the club’s all-time leading scorer who needs two goals to reach 200.
PSG is 12 points clear of second-place Marseille, while sixth-place Lyon needs to bounce back in its quest for a Champions League place next season after taking one point from the last two games.
Marseille will be confident of strengthening its grip on second place, and extending its unbeaten run, when it hosts last-place Toulouse on Saturday. Also on Saturday, Monaco travels to play 19th-place Amiens and third-place Rennes faces Brest.
By Jerome Pugmire