A preview of what’s happening in European football on Friday:
Wolverhampton want to boost their unlikely Champions League qualification ambitions. Leeds are desperate to avoid relegation issues. Teams with contrasting goals meet at Molineux to begin a truncated Premier League round, taking place on the same weekend as the FA Cup quarter-finals.
This is the first of only four league matches. Wolves can climb above Tottenham and West Ham in sixth place, and within two points of fourth-placed Arsenal with a win. Leeds will start the game four points clear of the bottom three and seek a second straight win under new USA manager Jesse Marsch, whose first win at the helm came last week against last-placed Norwich.
Tenth-placed Sassuolo looks to extend a five-game unbeaten streak when they host Spezia, who are 15th on the table.
Sassuolo are without suspended striker Giacomo Raspadori, who was sent off with two yellow cards in a 2-2 draw at Salernitana last weekend. Spezia are coming off a 2-0 win over Cagliari which boosted their chances of avoiding relegation and securing a third consecutive Serie A season.
Also, 11th-placed Turin visits Genoa, who are second from bottom and haven’t won since the third round. Torino held defending champions Inter Milan to a draw in their last game, while Genoa have drawn seven in a row.
Getafe visit Athletic Bilbao with Enes Unal aiming to rekindle their superb goalscoring form. The Turkish striker has scored 13 times this season in the Spanish league, behind Real Madrid duo Karim Benzema (22) and Vinícius Júnior (14) as the competition’s top scorers.
But he’s gone scoreless in Getafe’s last two games. When Getafe hosted Athletic in December, it ended in a scoreless stalemate. Athletic are unbeaten in six games in all competitions at the San Mamés stadium.
Bochum and Borussia Mönchengladbach will be without their coaches in the opening match of the 27th round of the Bundesliga.
Bochum announced on Thursday that Thomas Reis had tested positive for coronavirus, while Gladbach coach Adi Hütter is still not back after testing positive the previous week.
It will be the first time in the Bundesliga that both teams will be without their coaches. Bochum assistant coach Markus Gellhaus will replace Reis. “You have to be ready for almost anything these days,” Gellhaus said. Germany recorded a record number of coronavirus infections on Thursday.
Saint-Etienne, ten times champion, continues its mission to avoid relegation against Troyes.
After a disastrous first part of the season, Saint-Etienne rebounded under the leadership of its coach Pascal Dupraz, appointed in December. But Saint-Etienne remains in 18th place.
Troyes are in fine form, having won their last two games to move up to 15th place, just two points behind Saint-Etienne.
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