A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Friday:
Athletic Bilbao visits Girona seeking to end a three-game winless streak on the road in the Spanish league. Ernesto Valverde’s team beat Villarreal last round at home to sit in sixth place. Bilbao playmaker Iker Muniain missed the Villarreal match because of a muscle injury. Girona is on the brink of the relegation zone but was strengthened by earning a 1-1 draw at leader Real Madrid in its last game.
After a surprising start to the season, Udinese has dropped off the pace in dramatic fashion and will be looking to get back to winning ways at home to relegation-threatened Lecce. Udinese’s six-match winning streak was followed by draws against title hopefuls Atalanta and Lazio but it then lost to Monza and Torino as well as drawing at last-place Cremonese. Udinese’s last victory came a month ago and that run of results has seen it drop to eighth. Lecce has lost three of its past four matches and has only won once this season, leaving it just two points above the relegation zone.
Troyes hosts Auxerre looking for a first win since the end of September. Just one point separates the teams, with Auxerre standing one spot above the relegation zone. In-form forward Mama Baldé is expected to lead Troyes' attack after scoring twice against leader Paris Saint-Germain last weekend. The 26-year-old Baldé, who began his career as right-back, has seven goals from 13 league games this season.
Borussia Mönchengladbach hopes to stop its negative spiral when it hosts Stuttgart to start the Bundesliga’s 13th round. Gladbach is now four games without a win across all competitions and it conceded at the last moment to lose 2-1 at league leader Union Berlin last weekend. “We’re finding ourselves in an annoying phase of the season,” Gladbach coach Daniel Farke said. Things are looking better for Stuttgart since it fired the luckless Pellegrino Matarazzo after his team’s 1-0 loss to Union. Interim coach Michael Wimmer led Stuttgart to its first league win of the season at Bochum and followed up with its second last weekend against Augsburg.
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The Associated Press