MATCHDAY: Bayern Munich can seal title; Madrid hosts Betis

·2 min read

A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:

GERMANY

Bayern Munich can clinch a record-extending ninth consecutive Bundesliga title with a win at home over Mainz. It would be the Bavarian powerhouse’s 31st German championship title overall including its first in 1932. The rest all came after the Bundesliga started in 1963. But Mainz will not make it easy for Hansi Flick’s team. Mainz is fighting relegation and has shown a different side since Bo Svensson took over as coach. Mainz is unbeaten in six games with four wins in that run. Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League credentials face a stern test at third-place Wolfsburg. Dortmund is four points behind fourth-place Eintracht Frankfurt, which visits Bayer Leverkusen for the late game. The top four qualify for Europe’s premier competition. Also, Union Berlin hosts Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim visits Freiburg.

SPAIN

Real Madrid will again look to overcome a squad depleted by injuries and COVID-19 when it hosts Real Betis. It will be the second game Madrid plays since it promoted the derailed Super League scheme. A win would pull Madrid level on points with Spanish league leader Atlético Madrid before it plays on Sunday. Madrid will be without Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos, Ferland Mendy because of injury. Federico Valverde has tested positive for the coronavirus. Karim Benzema, however, will aim to continue his strong scoring run after scoring nine goals in Madrid’s last seven league games. Betis will be without playmaker Nabil Fekir, serving a red-card suspension. Alavés, which has improved under new coach Javi Calleja, will seek its first away win since November when it visits Valencia. Relegation-threatened Elche hosts Levante seeking its first win in eight rounds, while Valladolid needs to beat Cádiz to ensure it doesn’t fall into the drop zone.

ENGLAND

Liverpool was among the six Premier League clubs that signed up for the ill-fated Super League, with manager Jurgen Klopp and his players caught in the eye of the storm as they travelled to Leeds at the height of the anger. Liverpool was held to a 1-1 draw on Monday but the ailing Premier League champions will be looking to bolster their Champions League hopes by beating recently-improved Newcastle, which is closing in on safety after back-to-back wins. Liverpool is in seventh place — two points behind Chelsea and West Ham. Only goal difference separates them the London rivals as they meet on Saturday night, with fifth-place West Ham chasing Champions League qualification for the first time. Already-relegated Sheffield United takes on Brighton.

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The Associated Press