MATCHDAY: Man U visit Leeds, Bayern want to make amends



Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo waves to fans after the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)


A preview of what’s happening in European football on Sunday:


Manchester United can open a four-point gap in the race for the final Champions League spot by beating fierce rivals Leeds at Elland Road in the Premier League. Fourth-placed Man United are a point ahead of West Ham and Arsenal. Arsenal have played two fewer games than United, however. Man United are looking to build on a 2-0 midweek win over Brighton. Wolverhampton are not out of contention for the top four either and host Leicester. Wolves are six points behind Man United, having played two fewer games.


Barcelona travel to Valencia in a Spanish league game wedged between their Europa League draw with Napoli. Xavi Hernández’s side were held to a 1-1 draw by the Italian side in their first leg of the qualifiers this week, when Barcelona wasted several scoring chances at the Camp Nou. Barcelona need a win at the Mestalla stadium to restore their fourth place in the league after Atlético Madrid and Villarreal took the lead on Saturday. Barcelona defenders Gerard Pique and Dani Alves are both suspended for the game. Second-placed Sevilla visit leaders Real Madrid’s Espanyol by seven points. Julen Lopetegui will be absent from defenders Karim Rekik (injury) and Marcos Acuña (suspended). Sevilla have drawn their last two away games in the league. Athletic Bilbao host Real Sociedad in the Basque Country’s fiercest regional rivalry.


Greuther Fürth is bracing for a reaction at Bayern Munich after the Bavarian powerhouse’s shock 4-2 loss to promoted Bochum in the Bundesliga and their 1-1 draw with Salzburg in the Champions League. Bayern are under pressure to meet expectations against the inferior team. Anything less than a win will drown out the whispers of critics against Julian Nagelsmann’s side. Borussia Dortmund are under even more pressure against Borussia Mönchengladbach after their dismal performance against Rangers in the Europa League and their 5-2 home loss to Bayer Leverkusen are still fresh in their memories. Relegation-threatened Hertha Berlin seek their first win of the year as they host Leipzig late in the game. Another loss could spell the end for coach Tayfun Korkut.


Marseille and Nice continue their fight for second place and automatic entry into the Champions League. Second-placed Marseille hold a four-point lead over third-placed Nice with 14 games remaining and striker Arkadiusz Milik is back in form after a recent goalscoring glut. Nice under coach Christophe Galtier are at home to Angers early in the game and Marseille end the round of home fixtures against struggling Clermont. Fourth-placed Strasbourg are just one point behind Nice but are struggling to improve Saint-Etienne, who are battling to stay in place and showing encouraging signs under veteran coach Pascal Dupraz.


Inter Milan have the chance to overtake AC Milan and take the lead in the Italian league if they beat Sassuolo at home. League leaders Milan stumbled on Saturday with a 2-2 draw at last-place Salernitana, leaving Inter two points adrift of second. Inter have played two games less than their city rivals. Also Sunday in Serie A, it’s: Fiorentina against Atalanta; Venezia against Genoa; and Udinese against Lazio.


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