A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Friday:
Pep Guardiola will miss Manchester City’s FA Cup game at fourth-tier club Swindon after testing positive for the coronavirus, with seven players also in isolation. City is the latest English team to have an outbreak of COVID-19 and assistant coach Rodolfo Borrell is set to be on the sideline. However, City has not asked for the game to be postponed and Borrell said the available players “are prepared to play the game and mentally we are ready for it.” It is the first of the weekend’s third-round FA Cup games. Despite City’s problems, Swindon coach Ben Garner said his team will have to ”pull off a miracle” to reach the fourth round.
The Bundesliga resumes after its winter break with league leader Bayern Munich hosting Borussia Mönchengladbach, which routed the Bavarian club 5-0 in their previous meeting. But it will be a much-depleted game between two teams hit by coronavirus infections. Bayern is particularly hard hit with nine players testing positive for COVID-19 after the break, while Gladbach had four confirmed infections. Players leaving for the African Cup and injuries have further depleted both teams. Bayern favored postponing the game, but the German soccer league has so far refused, perhaps wary of setting a precedent with other teams also likely to be hit by infections as the omicron variant becomes the dominant one across Germany. As it is, only five clubs of the Bundesliga’s 18 emerged without any players testing positive after the winter break.
Marseille coach Jorge Sampaoli was a 17-year-old budding midfielder the last time Marseille won a game at Bordeaux. The club’s astonishing unbeaten home run against Marseille dates back 45 years to October 1977. Dozens of coaches have failed to win there since and it’s now Sampaoli’s turn to try and buck the trend. He may have a good chance seeing as his side is in third place while Bordeaux languishes in 17th. The game was still set to go ahead despite a high number of coronavirus cases in Bordeaux’s squad.
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