What to watch in the leading football countries in Europe



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What to watch in the top European football leagues this weekend:

ITALY

Juventus will win the eighth consecutive Serie A title if they beat Milan on Saturday and Napoli lose to Genoa the following day.

Napoli's unexpected defeat at Empoli on Wednesday will probably have the effect of raising the Juve celebration.

Juventus lead Napoli with 18 points with eight rounds remaining and the Bianconeri also have the tiebreak.

Fourth-placed Milan, however, is desperate to end a string of three unbeaten matches and revive their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

With Mauro Icardi returning from his contract, third-placed Inter Milan seem more at ease as they enter the game against Atalanta, who are fifth and only four points behind the Champions League.

Also on this weekend, Rome, which is in difficulties, visits Sampdoria and Lazio receives the Sassuolo.

– By Andrew Dampf

GERMANY

Borussia Dortmund visit Bayern Munich on Saturday for a game that can decide which team will take the Bundesliga "salad" trophy at the end of the season.

Dortmund lead Bayern by two points thanks to Bavaria's 1-1 draw with Freiburg and two very late goals from Paco Alcacer in a 2-0 win at Dortmund over Wolfsburg last weekend. Seven rounds remain after this weekend.

Bayern, who are chasing their seventh consecutive title, were pushed to the limit by second-tier Heidenheim in the German Cup on Wednesday before Robert Lewandowski reached the side in a 5-4 win. The team played most of the game with 10 men, so fatigue can also be a factor against Dortmund.

However, Dortmund has problems in defense with Achraf Hakimi for the rest of the season with a broken foot, and Abdou Diallo and Lukasz Piszczek both dubious. Raphael Guerreiro is likely to fill in the left wing, while the lateral one receives captain Marco Reus after the birth of his first son.

Bayern are hoping goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and defender David Alaba will be back in time.

– By Ciaran Fahey

SPAIN

Atletico Madrid have to take advantage of their last chance to dispute the Spanish title when they visit leader Barcelona on Saturday.

After narrowing the gap by two points in the previous round, Atletico could be within five points of the lead with a win at Camp Nou Stadium.

Barcelona needed two late goals to salvage the tie at Villarreal on Tuesday but remains unbeaten in 15 games in all competitions and their last league defeat was in November.

Atletico have come in two straight victories but have not won the Camp Nou in 18 consecutive games since 2006. Atl├ętico's last win against Barcelona in all competitions was in 2016 in the Champions League.

Third-placed Real Madrid, five points behind Atletico and with little to play for the rest of the season, will try to recover from a Valencia defeat – the first since Zinedine Zidane's return – when they host Eibar on Saturday.

– By Tales Azzoni

ENGLAND

Pursuing an unprecedented quadruple of trophies, Manchester City want to reach the final of the FA Cup, but can be replaced at the top of the Premier League by Liverpool before the weekend.

Second-placed Liverpool are one point behind City in a game against Southampton on Friday. It is one of six toughest games in Liverpool, with Southampton recently finding some way in their fight to avoid relegation.

The city is not in the Premier League because it faces Brighton on Saturday in the first semi-final of this weekend's FA Cup at Wembley Stadium. The other semifinal game is between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Watford on Sunday.

Also in the league, Arsenal may be in third place, ahead of rival Tottenham, by beating Everton on Sunday. Tottenham, who are not playing for the weekend, may even be eliminated from the top four, as Chelsea host West Ham on Monday.

Third place Tottenham are one point ahead of Arsenal and Chelsea.

– By Steve Douglas

FRANCE

With a 20-point advantage in the French championship, Paris Saint-Germain is just two wins from the sixth title in seven years.

PSG might even win the title on Sunday if they beat Strasbourg and second place in Lille did not win in Reims.

Despite the absence of several major players due to injury, including Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria, the defending champions have shown no sign of slowing since the disappointing Champions League exit last month.

PSG, who in any case won the title with a win over Lille on 14 April, qualified for the fifth final of the French Cup midweek before Sunday's game at the Parc des Princes.

Behind the leader, Lille and Lyon are involved in a tight dispute for the second place automatic of the Champions League. Lille face a tough trip to Champagne while Lyon face Dijon at home, needing a good result to stay in touch with their northern rivals.

With eight remaining games, Lille have a four-point advantage over Lyon.

– By Sam Petrequin

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