A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:
Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham will miss the trip to Leeds after a setback in training in his recovery from an ankle injury. Defender Thiago Silva has experienced a minor recurrence of a prior thigh problem, so will also miss the game at Elland Road. Chelsea is in the fourth Champions League spot, two points ahead of West Ham, which has a game in hand. Everton is two points further back going into its game against Burnley. Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has been ruled out for up to 10 weeks with a broken bone in a foot while playmaker James Rodriguez will not play again until after next month due to a calf problem. Manchester City is 14 points clear in first place before traveling to Fulham, which has lost just one of its last seven games and is only in the relegation zone on goal difference. West Bromwich Albion, which is eight points from safety, plays Crystal Palace having drawn four of its last eight league games. Palace is eight points clear of the bottom three.
Leader Atletico Madrid crosses the capital to face a struggling Getafe looking to strengthen its six-point advantage over second-placed Barcelona with 12 rounds remaining. Diego Simeone insists his Atletico team is completely focused on the derby that comes four days before it hosts Chelsea needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit in the Champions League round-of-16. Atlético has won its last six visits to Getafe without conceding a single goal. Third-placed Real Madrid is eight points behind Atlético and cannot afford a slip when it hosts Elche. Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard are back from long injury layoffs for Madrid. Alavés hosts Cádiz needing to end a run of four consecutive losses, while Valladolid is at Osasuna with both trying to move away from the relegation zone.
Two of the surprises of Serie A meet when eighth-placed Hellas Verona visits ninth-placed Sassuolo. The sides are looking to make a late-season run and book a spot in the Europa League. Also, Filippo Inzaghi’s Benevento squad hosts Fiorentina with the teams level on points and looking to climb farther from the drop zone; and Genoa hosts Udinese.
Werder Bremen welcomes Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga’s most contested pairing. The clubs have met 109 times, and Bremen has a pressing problem ahead of the 110th clash – how to stop Bayern star Robert Lewandowski. The Poland forward is on 31 goals from 24 rounds and closing in on Gerd Müller’s 49-year-old record of 40 in a season. Ten rounds remain including this weekend. Bremen has carved out some breathing space in its battle against relegation with two wins and a draw from its last three games. Florian Kohfeldt’s team is 11 points clear of the relegation zone. Bayern’s lead has been cut to two points and it can ill-afford any slipups with second-place Leipzig on a six-game winning run in the league. (Leipzig plays fourth-place Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.) Borussia Dortmund hosts Hertha Berlin in Saturday’s late game. Also, Union Berlin welcomes Cologne, Freiburg visits Mainz, and Wolfsburg hosts last-place Schalke.
Jorge Sampaoli takes charge of his second game for Marseille when they face Brest at home. The Argentine coach will hope for an improved performance after a late goal sealed a scrappy midweek home win against a struggling Rennes team. Sampaoli has 10 games to lead a late charge and get Marseille into the Europa League, and he will hope playmaker Dimitri Payet recaptures his best form to help that push. If Marseille loses at Stade Velodrome, then Angers can move level on points with a home win against Saint-Etienne, which is hovering just above the relegation zone.