A look at what’s happening in European football on Saturday:
Manchester United head to Chelsea without Cristiano Ronaldo but with more confidence after a commendable performance to beat Tottenham 2-0 in the Premier League in midweek. Ronaldo refused to continue as a substitute and headed to the dressing room before the end of the game. He was left out of the squad for the trip to Stamford Bridge. Fourth-placed Chelsea are one point and one place ahead of United. In second place, Manchester City look to bounce back from their first defeat at Liverpool last weekend, beating Brighton at home. Liverpool have problems ahead ahead of a trip to bottom-placed Nottingham Forest. Striker Darwin Nunez has a thigh injury and could join Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota on the sidelines. Everton also host Crystal Palace.
Thibaut Courtois has returned to Real Madrid’s squad for their La Liga game against Sevilla after the goalkeeper missed six games with sciatic pain. While Courtois was ruled out, substitute Andriy Lunin helped the team remain unbeaten in all 15 games this season. Another win for Madrid would open up a six-point gap over Barcelona before the latter play on Sunday. Sevilla have struggled and won just one and drawn three since Jorge Sampaoli returned as manager. Real Sociedad are in third place before visiting Valladolid. Sociedad have won eight matches in a row between the domestic league and the Europa League. A win would draw them level with Barcelona. Gennaro Gattuso’s Valencia also host Mallorca, looking for a win to lift them into the Europa League places. Rayo Vallecano welcomes Cádiz.
Much of the focus will be off the pitch when Monza travel to defending champions AC Milan in Serie A. Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani return to the club they led to 29 trophies in 31 years. Berlusconi bought Monza in 2018 and installed Adriano Galliani as CEO. It reunited the duo who were successful at Milan until Berlusconi sold the Rossoneri in 2017. Milan will be looking to move level with Napoli at the top of Serie A. Monza will be hoping to move further away from the relegation zone after three victories in it. the last four league matches. Inter Milan also visit bitter rivals Fiorentina. Salernitana host Spezia with just one point separating the struggling sides.
Bayern Munich will be without goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for the fourth game in a row as the German champions head to Hoffenheim. Neuer has complained of shoulder pain but Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann says he does not believe the goalkeeper is in danger of missing the World Cup. Teammate Thomas Müller has recovered from a back problem but misses out with a stomach problem. Bayern are second, four points behind surprise leaders Union Berlin. In other games, Borussia Dortmund aim to end a three-game winless streak in the Bundesliga as they host Stuttgart, while third-placed Freiburg play Werder Bremen. Leipzig visit Augsburg. Xabi Alonso started life as Bayer Leverkusen manager with a big win and two heavy defeats. His team will try to move away from the relegation zone at home to Wolfsburg.
Southern side Marseille host northern side Lens and a win for either side would move them above Lorient and into second place. Lyon coach Laurent Blanc is looking for his first win since taking charge when his side visit Montpellier. Both teams are locked in mid-table and concede easily – allowing 37 goals between them in 11 games so far.
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