MATCHDAY: Relegation-threatened Everton hosts Man United
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:
Everton hosts Manchester United in the first of five Premier League games with Frank Lampard’s team needing a win to avoid the danger of dropping into the relegation zone by the end of the weekend. The 17th-place Toffees have lost four of their last five league games. Inconsistent United needs a win to avoid drifting too far from the top four and a spot in next season’s Champions League. Cristiano Ronaldo is available again for United after the illness that kept him out of last weekend’s draw with Leicester but Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw, Edinson Cavani and Scott McTominay remain out. Everton is boosted by the return of midfielder Allan from suspension. After losing 3-0 at Crystal Palace, fifth-place Arsenal hosts Brighton, third-place Chelsea is at Southampton and Watford hosts Leeds. Fourth-place Tottenham travels to Aston Villa in the late game.
Real Madrid hosts Getafe aiming to protect its commanding lead of the Spanish league before it hosts Chelsea in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal match, holding a 3-1 advantage. With Karim Benzema in its lineup, Madrid has won seven straight games across all competitions. Its sole loss during that stretch was a 4-0 defeat to Barcelona when Benzema was injured. Benzema has scored 10 of Madrid’s last 11 goals, including back-to-back hat tricks in the Champions League. Getafe surprised Madrid 1-0 at home in January thanks to Enes Unal, one of his 14 goals in the league this season. Getafe, however, hasn’t won at the Santiago Bernabéu since 2008. Atlético Madrid visits Mallorca before it hosts Manchester City in the Champions League needing to overturn a 1-0 defeat to reach the semifinals. Villarreal welcomes Athletic Bilbao after it beat Bayern Munich 1-0. Real Betis is at Cádiz looking to stay in the thick of the race for a top-four finish.
Defending Serie A champion Inter Milan has the chance to close the gap to leader AC Milan to just one point. Buoyed by a 1-0 win at Juventus last weekend, Inter hosts Hellas Verona the day before Milan visits Torino. Inter will be without its top scorer, however, as Lautaro Martínez is suspended. Juventus saw its title hopes all but evaporate last weekend and it will now need to concentrate on consolidating a top-four spot. It is five points above fifth-place Roma. The Bianconeri visit relegation-threatened Cagliari. Empoli hosts Spezia.
Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich can take another step toward a record-extending 10th consecutive title with a Bavarian derby win over visiting Augsburg, which is still not totally out of relegation danger. Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl will be hoping his opponents have one eye on Villarreal’s visit in the Champions League on Tuesday for the second leg of their quarterfinal. With the Bundesliga title close to being wrapped up, Julian Nagelsmann will hope to add European honors in his debut season as Bayern coach. Also Saturday, Hertha Berlin hosts Union Berlin in a high-stakes city derby. Big-spending Hertha is second last and desperate to climb out of the relegation zone, while Union is pushing for European qualification and would gladly see its crosstown rival relegated. Arminia Bielefeld, which is ahead of Hertha on goal difference, visits Wolfsburg. Cologne hosts Mainz and Borussia Mönchengladbach plays at last-place Greuther Fürth.
Paris Saint-Germain can inch closer to a record-tying 10th French league title when it visits lowly Clermont. But the runaway leader will have to snap a four-game losing streak on the road in all competitions. PSG will miss Argentina midfielder Leandro Paredes, whose season appears over after undergoing groin surgery, as well as the injured Keylor Navas, Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera, Julian Draxler and Abdou Diallo. Clermont will be without Salis Abdul Samed, who is suspended, and Cedric Hountondji, Elbasan Rashani and Pierre-Yves Hamel, still injured. Rennes needs a victory at Reims to go level on points with second-place Marseille.
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