What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:
Real Madrid and Barcelona hope the international break will help them turn things around in Spain.
Barcelona hasn’t won in four straight league games, while Madrid is winless in four matches in all competitions.
Second-place Barcelona hosts leader Sevilla on Saturday, with Sergi Roberto and Luis Suarez likely to be available after recovering from injuries.
Sevilla has won four straight in the league, including a 3-0 rout of Madrid, and will be counting on Portugal striker Andre Silva, one of the league’s top scorers.
Madrid hosts Levante on Saturday. Cross-town rival Atletico, in third position, visits struggling Villarreal.
The top six are separated by two points, with Espanyol and Alaves fifth and sixth respectively. Espanyol travels to promoted Huesca on Sunday, while Alaves visits Celta Vigo on Friday.
By Tales Azzoni in Madrid
Jose Mourinho looks to improve on his poor Stamford Bridge record as Manchester United coach when he returns to former club Chelsea for the game of the weekend in the Premier League.
Despite his team’s come-from-behind 3-2 win over Newcastle before the international break, Mourinho remains in a vulnerable position at United amid media reports the club’s hierarchy are losing faith in him.
A victory on Saturday would ease some pressure but Mourinho has lost on all three visits with United to Chelsea, where he won three league titles in two spells and was once revered by fans.
United is eighth, seven points behind third-place Chelsea, which is tied on points with leader Manchester City and second-place Liverpool.
City is at home to Burnley on Saturday, the same day Liverpool travels to Huddersfield with injury problems affecting its squad. Sadio Mane has had hand surgery, while Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk were also hurt on international duty.
By Steve Douglas
Inter and AC Milan enter Sunday’s city derby on hot streaks.
Inter has won six straight in Serie A and the Champions League while Milan is on an eight-match unbeaten run in Serie A and the Europa League.
Milan is 10th but has played a match fewer than most of the other teams and victory would see it move to within a point of Inter, which is third.
Gonzalo Higuain will look to continue his scoring streak in his first Derby della Madonnina having netted six in his last five matches.
Juventus is already threatening to run away with the league as it holds a six-point advantage over second-place Napoli.
The Bianconeri host Genoa on Saturday, shortly before Napoli visits Udinese.
By Daniella Matar in Milan
All eyes will be on Alsace when Monaco goes to Strasbourg on Saturday for Thierry Henry’s first game in charge.
The French great, his country and Arsenal’s record scorer, has replaced Leonardo Jardim as Monaco coach. Henry has his work cut out, with the 2017 champion in 18th place with only one win from nine games.
League leader Paris Saint-Germain will be odds-on to make it a record-extending 10 wins in a row when it faces Amiens at the Parc des Princes on Saturday. PSG has already scored 32 goals and, with Kylian Mbappe in great form, Amiens faces a difficult task.
Second-place Lille aims to maintain its strong start when it travels Saturday to Dijon, which has faded after setting the pace early on. Third-place Marseille has a tough trip to southern rival Nice on Sunday.
By Jerome Pugmire in Paris
Bayern Munich hopes to end a four-game wait for victory at Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Bayern, chasing a record-extending sixth straight Bundesliga title, started the season with seven wins in all competitions before going into a rut.
Niko Kovac is under scrutiny in his first big job. The former Eintracht Frankfurt coach received belated backing from Bayern’s powerbrokers – chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and president Uli Hoeness – after the side’s 3-0 defeat at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Borussia Dortmund is the league’s only unbeaten team. Lucien Favre’s players are high on confidence after a spectacular 4-3 win over Augsburg and a come-from-behind success against Bayer Leverkusen.
Dortmund faces bottom club Stuttgart on Saturday, when new coach Markus Weinzierl will aim to get his tenure off to a morale-boosting start.
Schalke bids to keep its improvement going against Werder Bremen in Saturday’s late game. Schalke started with five defeats before bouncing back with wins over Mainz and Fortuna Duesseldorf.
By Ciaran Fahey in Berlin
Source: The Associated Press