What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe

              Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, center, celebrates with Barcelona forward Luis Suarez celebrates after Real defender Raphael Varane scores an own goal during the Copa del Rey semifinal second leg soccer match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday Feb. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrea Comas)

What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:


Barcelona has a chance to throw another knockout punch at Real Madrid this weekend.

After eliminating Madrid from the Copa del Rey with a 3-0 win in the second leg of the semifinals on Wednesday, Barcelona could take its rival out of contention in the Spanish league when the teams meet again at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Saturday.

Anything but a victory will practically end Madrid’s title chances, as it trails Barcelona by nine points with 13 rounds left. It also is two points behind second-placed Atletico Madrid.

It will be the third match in less than a month between the Spanish powerhouses, who drew 1-1 in the first leg of the Copa semifinals three weeks ago.

Madrid hasn’t beaten Barcelona in five matches in all competitions since the Spanish Super Cup in 2017. It lost 5-1 at Camp Nou Stadium in their first league match this season.

Atletico on Sunday visits Real Sociedad, which is yet to lose in 10 matches in all competitions this year. Atletico trails defending champion Barcelona by seven points.

— By Tales Azzoni


It is derby weekend in the Premier League.

First-placed Liverpool, which is one point clear with 10 games left, makes the short journey across Stanley Park to take on Merseyside rival Everton on Sunday. Juergen Klopp’s team could be out of the lead at kickoff, however, with second-placed Manchester City visiting out-of-form Bournemouth on Saturday.

The first of two derby matches in London takes place on Saturday lunchtime when north London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal meet at Wembley Stadium. Third-placed Tottenham has lost its last two games to drop out of realistic title contention and is only four points clear of fourth-placed Arsenal.

In southwest London on Sunday, sixth-placed Chelsea heads to relegation-bound Fulham, which will be led by interim coach Scott Parker following Claudio Ranieri’s firing on Thursday.

— By Steve Douglas


After ending a winless run of five games in all competitions last weekend, Borussia Dortmund can open a six-point lead over Bayern Munich with a victory at relegation-troubled Augsburg on Friday.

Augsburg lost at Freiburg 5-1 last Saturday and a fourth consecutive Bundesliga loss could prove problematic for coach Manuel Baum, whose position has already been called into question this season.

Dortmund, meanwhile, has to find a way to avoid conceding goals from set-pieces. Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah’s late strike in Dortmund’s 3-2 win on Sunday was the ninth goal the side has conceded from a set-piece in the league.

Bayern is away to Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday and will hope to inflict a third consecutive home loss on the host. Gladbach previously won all of its home games until Hertha Berlin grabbed a 3-0 win on Feb. 9.

Fourth-placed Leipzig visits last-placed Nuremberg on Saturday.

— By Ciaran Fahey


It’s a big weekend in Serie A with the Rome derby on Saturday followed by a matchup between first-placed Juventus and second-placed Napoli on Sunday.

Roma and Lazio sit fifth and sixth in the standings, respectively, and are fighting to get back into the top four and the Champions League places.

While Juventus’ 13-point lead over Napoli seemingly makes their match less interesting, Napoli is still desperate to show that it can compete with the seven-time defending champion.

Cristiano Ronaldo will reportedly sit out the game with a minor injury to his left ankle — and also in order to rest up for the second-leg match in the Champions League last 16 against Atletico Madrid. Atletico won the first leg 2-0.

Third-placed Inter Milan visits Cagliari on Friday to open the weekend, while fourth-placed AC Milan takes an eight-match unbeaten run into its game against Sassuolo on Saturday.

— By Andrew Dampf