MATCHDAY: Dortmund visits Bochum, Osasuna at Sociedad
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Friday:
Borussia Dortmund leads the title race in the Bundesliga with five games to go but faces motivated opposition in the form of local rival Bochum. Dortmund is without defender Nico Schlotterbeck for the visit to Bochum, whose home ground can be an intimidating place to visit. Bochum is on the fringe of the relegation fight in 15th and on four games without a win but has a history of raising its game against Dortmund, beating its rival 4-3 last season at Dortmund's stadium. Dortmund leads by one point from Bayern Munich, which plays Hertha Berlin on Sunday.
Real Sociedad visits Osasuna looking to take another step toward locking up a fourth-place finish and the last Champions League berth for Spain. A win by Sociedad would open up a nine-point gap over sixth-place Real Betis, which plays leader Barcelona on Saturday. Osasuna has this game and one more league encounter before it faces Real Madrid in the cup final on May 6.
Relegation-threatened Spezia and Lecce are desperate to end winless runs to avoid being sucked into the bottom three this weekend. Spezia hosts Monza and is just a point above 18th-place Hellas Verona, which visits another team in the bottom three on Sunday – Cremonese. Spezia has won just one of its past 15 matches in all competitions, although it has drawn four of its past five. Monza is in mid-table and will be full of confidence after beating Inter Milan and Fiorentina in its past two matches. Lecce has just a point more than Spezia and hosts mid-table Udinese. Lecce has won just one of its past 10 matches and lost seven of the past eight.
Having left the relegation zone with a win at Reims last weekend, Strasbourg wants to build on the momentum when it hosts Lyon. Strasbourg is 15th, level on points with relegation-threatened Brest. As the French top tier will be reduced to 18 clubs from next season, four teams will be relegated with two promoted from the second division. The Alsatian team is aiming for back-to-back victories against the seven-time champions after winning the reverse fixture in January. After losing at home to Marseille, seventh-place Lyon needs to bounce back as it keeps a small hope of claiming the fifth and final European spot.
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The Associated Press