A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:
Carlo Ancelotti will have Real Madrid’s leading players back against Valencia following a surprise loss at the lowly Getafe. In-form winger Vinícius Júnior is set to return after testing negative following his coronavirus infection. Madrid missed his speed and scoring threat against Getafe last weekend, when its run of 15 consecutive games across all competitions ended with a 1-0 loss. Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Ferland Mendy will also be back after they rested during Madrid’s Copa del Rey victory over a lower-division opponent midweek. Madrid leads the Spanish league with a five-point advantage over Sevilla. Barcelona visits Granada without midfielder Frenkie de Jong after he injured a muscle in his left leg. Barcelona is aiming for a victory to move ahead of Atlético Madrid and Real Betis into third place. Celta Vigo is at Real Sociedad after being eliminated from the Copa del Rey by a third-division rival. Last-place Levante hosts Mallorca still searching for its first win in its 20th league game of the season.
Chelsea joins Premier League clubs entering the FA Cup in the third round with a home match against Chesterfield. It is the fifth-tier club’s first match at Stamford Bridge in 71 years to face the reigning European champions. Crystal Palace travels across south London to Millwall in the teams’ first competitive meeting since 2013. In Saturday’s only all-Premier League cup match, Leicester begins its FA Cup defense against Watford. Patrick Vieira, a multiple FA Cup winner in his playing days with Arsenal, is trying to lead the Eagles to a first title in the competition. Everton also plays a second-tier Championship team with a trip to Hull, which lost the 2014 final while still in the Premier League. Newcastle, which hasn’t won the trophy since the 1955 FA Cup, plays third-tier Cambridge, Burnley is without coronavirus-infected manager Sean Dyche for its home match against Huddersfield, Brighton travels to West Bromwich, Southampton is at Swansea and Brentford plays Port Vale.
Borussia Dortmund has two players — Dan-Axel Zagadou and Marius Wolf — in isolation after positive tests for the coronavirus as it takes on Eintracht Frankfurt, which also has players in quarantine, in both teams’ first match since the winter break. Dortmund needs a win to reignite its struggling title challenge and cut Bayern Munich’s lead. Frankfurt was on strong form before the winter break and its best performances have often come against the top teams, including a win over Bayern in October. Freiburg is the Bundesliga’s surprise challenger for Champions League places after spending the winter break in third place and will look to cement that status at home to relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld. Leipzig is missing five quarantined players including midfielder Dani Olmo as it hosts Mainz, which is without captain Moussa Niakhaté. Bayer Leverkusen takes on Union Berlin, while Hoffenheim plays Augsburg. Fourteen of the 18 Bundesliga clubs have reported virus cases as the season resumes.
The lone match in the French league features two teams desperate for a victory. Lens hosts Rennes with both clubs having lost their last two league games. Mid-table squad Lens is winless in its past six league matches but could draw inspiration from Tuesday’s comeback victory over Lille to reach the last 16 of the French Cup. Fourth-place Rennes lost to second-division club Nancy last weekend in the Cup. Saturday’s scheduled game between defending champion Lille and Lorient was postponed after a dozen Lorient players tested positive for COVID-19 over the past week. Two members of Lorient’s technical staff also tested positive.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports