What to watch in Europe’s top soccer leagues this weekend:
Liverpool’s record top-flight lead could grow to 25 points with a win at Norwich in the Premier League on Saturday.
The unbeaten Reds need a maximum of six more victories to clinch their first English league championship in 30 years. It would be a surprise if the latest does not come at Carrow Road, with Norwich in last place.
The 26th round of games was split over two weekends during the league’s first ever midseason break. It needed to be extended by a few more days after the Manchester City-West Ham match was postponed last Sunday amid a storm that hit northern Europe, with that fixture rearranged for Wednesday next week.
City is in second place, currently 22 points behind Liverpool.
Other highlights include Manchester United away to fourth-place Chelsea on Monday, and third-place Leicester at Wolverhampton on Friday.
By Steve Douglas.
Eden Hazard could play his first match since November when Real Madrid hosts Celta Vigo on Sunday, looking to keep its lead of the Spanish league.
Hazard hasn’t played since injuring his right ankle on Nov. 26 in a match against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
The Belgium winger has recently been training with his team but coach Zinedine Zidane apparently does not want to rush his return.
Madrid leads Barcelona by three points. The defending champions will host third-place Getafe on Saturday.
Fourth-place Atlético Madrid will visit Valencia on Friday.
By Joseph Wilson.
Only one point separates the top three sides in Serie A, and two of them play each other on Sunday when third-place Lazio hosts Inter Milan.
Inter is top of the Italian League table along with Juventus, which entertains relegation-threatened Brescia earlier in the day.
The three teams also have the league’s top goalscorers. Lazio forward Ciro Immobile tops the charts with 25 goals, five more than Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus and eight ahead of Inter’s Romelu Lukaku.
Fourth-place Atalanta is 11 points behind Lazio but has a crucial match for its hopes of qualifying for the Champions League for the second successive season as it hosts Roma, which is three points further back.
By Daniella Matar.
Leipzig has the chance to reclaim top spot in the Bundesliga on Saturday with a win at home against struggling Werder Bremen, before league leader Bayern Munich can answer in a match at Cologne on Sunday.
The league is more exciting than it has been for years, with four teams within four points at the top – and Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke not far behind.
Third-place Borussia Dortmund opens the 22nd round at home against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday, while fourth-place Borussia Mönchengladbach faces a Rhine derby at Fortuna Düsseldorf on Saturday.
Hertha Berlin’s quest to get over the shock of Jürgen Klinsmann’s decision to quit as coach begins with a visit to relegation rival Paderborn on Saturday. Former assistant Alexander Nouri has taken temporary charge of the team. Paderborn is in last place.
City rival Union Berlin hosts Leverkusen on Saturday.
By Ciarán Fahey
Having had a goal disallowed in midweek, Paris Saint-Germain’s all-time top scorer Edinson Cavani hopes to reach the 200-goal mark at 19th-place Amiens on Saturday.
With Neymar still nursing a rib injury – having sat out the past three games – and Borussia Dortmund looming in the last 16 of the Champions League next week, the Brazil star could again be rested by coach Thomas Tuchel. It would mean Cavani getting a rare start in a frustrating season where he asked to leave the club during January’s transfer window.
Runaway league leader PSG is 12 points ahead of second-place Marseille, which just lost for the first time in 17 matches and faces a tough match at fourth-place Lille on Sunday. Marseille could be without key midfielder Dimitri Payet, who limped off in Wednesday’s French Cup quarterfinal defeat to Lyon.
By Jerome Pugmire.
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