Struggling German giants Schalke need to win to keep away from equalling an undesirable report, whereas a chastened Atletico Madrid return to their La Liga title quest and there are large video games on the prime of the desk in Italy and Holland.
AFP Sport selects a few of the standout soccer motion in Europe this weekend:
– Traditionally dangerous Schalke? –
Schalke v Hoffenheim, Saturday 1430 GMT
All-time low of the Bundesliga, Schalke will probably be in joint possession of an ignominious report ought to they fail to win at residence to Hoffenheim. The Gelsenkirchen membership have gone 30 video games with out successful since their final victory, at residence to Borussia Moenchengladbach on January 17 final yr.
With veteran Swiss coach Christian Gross now in cost, Schalke stand only one recreation away from equalling Tasmania Berlin’s report of 31 Bundesliga matches and not using a win, set in 1965/66.
There was an evidence for Tasmania’s terrible displaying: that they had been an novice membership earlier than being parachuted into the highest flight as a result of the authorities needed a consultant from West Berlin after Hertha had been demoted. In distinction, as historically the membership with the third-biggest assist in Germany, Schalke’s report has been shameful.
– Time for Dortmund to step up? –
RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund, Saturday 1730 GMT
The anticipated title problem from Dortmund has probably not transpired they usually sit eight factors behind Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich earlier than going to RB Leipzig, the membership who sit second and now look the most definitely rivals to the reigning champions.
Solely Borussia Moenchengladbach have crushed Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig within the Bundesliga this season, they usually have solely let in 9 objectives, three of which got here in a draw away to Bayern.
Dortmund, in the meantime, have gained two of their three Bundesliga video games since coach Lucien Favre was sacked and changed by Edin Terzic, and have Erling Braut Haaland again after damage saved him sidelined in December. It might be a giant assertion if they may win on the Pink Bull Area.
– Atletico on rebound –
Atletico Madrid v Athletic Bilbao, Saturday 1515 GMT
Diego Simeone’s Atletico have to rapidly get an embarrassing Copa del Rey defeat out of their system as they resume their title bid in La Liga at residence to Athletic Bilbao.
Atletico, with a weakened aspect admittedly, had been dumped out of the cup on Wednesday by Cornella, a third-tier outfit from suburban Barcelona. Nevertheless, in La Liga they’re two factors clear on the prime from Actual Madrid, and have two video games in hand.
They haven’t misplaced at residence within the league since December 2019 and they need to be too sturdy for mid-table Athletic, with the Basque membership coming into this recreation on the again of a house loss to Barcelona of their first match with new coach Marcelino.
– Roma, Inter check title credentials –
Roma v Inter Milan, Sunday 1130 GMT
Inter’s momentum within the Serie A title race was halted in midweek after they misplaced at Sampdoria, ending a run of eight straight victories for Antonio Conte’s aspect.
Nevertheless, defeat for AC Milan towards Juventus left Inter nonetheless only a level behind their metropolis rivals on the prime of the desk. They’re additionally simply three factors away from third-placed Roma, who’ve themselves gained their final three outings and now host the Nerazzurri on the Stadio Olimpico.
Will Romelu Lukaku, scorer of 12 Serie A objectives this season, return to Inter’s beginning line-up?
– Dutch giants conflict –
Ajax v PSV Eindhoven, Sunday 1545 GMT
As Ajax look to shut in on a big-money deal for West Ham United’s French striker Sebastien Haller, they’re additionally hoping to strike a significant blow within the Dutch title race after they welcome PSV to Amsterdam of their first outing of the brand new yr.
Ajax are prime of the Eredivisie after 14 video games, a degree above PSV and averaging 3.7 objectives per match. Their rivals might marvel in the event that they want Haller, who made his identify within the Netherlands with Utrecht.
It’s the German affect which has helped make PSV contenders once more, with Roger Schmidt as coach and a clutch of German gamers together with 2014 World Cup last hero Mario Goetze. A win away to Ajax can be a significant assertion.