A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Friday:
Everton and Tottenham are on the fringes of the race for Champions League qualification ahead of their meeting at Goodison Park in the Premier League. Tottenham is in seventh place, six points behind fourth-place Chelsea. Everton is a point and a place further back, but has a game in hand. When the two teams met at Goodison in an FA Cup fifth-round match in February, it proved to be a wild shootout that finished with Everton going through as a 5-4 winner after extra time. That match marked a shift to a more attacking approach by Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho, which in turn is helping striker Harry Kane put up some great numbers. Kane is tied with Mohamed Salah as the league’s top scorer on 19 goals and also has 13 assists, two more than anyone else.
It’s the perfect time for Julian Nagelsmann and second-place Leipzig to play Hoffenheimin in the Bundesliga. Winless in four games, Hoffenheim is lacking any creative spark and didn’t record a single shot on target in Monday’s 0-0 draw with Bayer Leverkusen. Leipzig’s faint hopes of dethroning Bayern Munich rest on winning as many of its remaining six games as possible and hoping Bayern continues to slip up. The defending champion did just that in last week’s 1-1 draw with Union Berlin. A win for Leipzig over Hoffenheim would cut the gap to Bayern to two points before Bayern visits third-place Wolfsburg on Saturday. Hoffenheim is 12th, five points clear of the relegation battle.
In a hard-fought French title race that has six games to go, Lille can keep the pressure on defending champion Paris Saint-Germain with a home win against Montpellier to move six points ahead. Christophe Galtier is astutely coaching Lille this season, combining a rock-solid defense with two solid midfield anchors and fleet-footed forwards down the flanks to support the powerful Burak Yilmaz through the middle. But Montpellier strikers Andy Delort and Gaetan Laborde form one of the best partnerships in the league with 23 goals. Their combination of physique, aerial prowess and technique, allied to midfielder Teji Savanier’s shrewd passing, could make it a difficult night for Lille’s defense.
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