MATCHDAY: 3 title hopefuls play in EPL, PSG waits on Messi

National Sports

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

ENGLAND

Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool, three of the Premier League’s big title contenders, get their campaigns up and running. Chelsea hosts Crystal Palace but will be without striker Romelu Lukaku, who only completed his move from Inter Milan on Thursday and isn’t ready to play. United is at home to fierce rival Leeds and is set to hand a competitive debut to winger Jadon Sancho. Liverpool visits promoted Norwich in the late game and might play defender Virgil Van Dijk for his first competitive match in 10 months after a serious knee injury. Another promoted team, Watford, is at home to Aston Villa, for whom Danny Ings should make his debut. Leicester hosts Wolverhampton, Everton is at home to Southampton, and Brighton travels to Burnley.

FRANCE

Lionel Messi is unlikely to feature for Paris Saint-Germain in its home match against Strasbourg. Messi completed his move to PSG on Tuesday but has only had two days of training after playing in the Copa America with Argentina a month ago. PSG is seeking a second straight win to open the season. Champion Lille hosts Nice after drawing its opening game.

SPAIN

Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid begins its Spanish league campaign at Alaves in what will be its first of three straight matches away from home. The team’s first home match is scheduled for September, when it hopes to have the field of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium ready. The venue is undergoing renovation but will continue hosting matches while construction work continues. Madrid will be without veteran captain Sergio Ramos for the first time after 16 seasons. Also Saturday, Mallorca hosts Real Betis, Levante visits Cadiz and promoted Espanyol plays at Osasuna.

GERMANY

Borussia Dortmund hosts Eintracht Frankfurt in the pick of the Bundesliga’s first round of games. Both teams have a new coach and Dortmund will hope to challenge Bayern Munich for the title in former Borussia Monchengladbach coach Marco Rose’s first season in charge. Former Wolfsburg coach Oliver Glasner is in charge at Frankfurt. Dortmund lost English forward Jadon Sancho to Manchester United in the offseason, but signed PSV Eindhoven’s Donyell Malen and should have enough strength in depth to compensate. Bochum visits Wolfsburg for its first game back, and the other promoted team, Greuther Furth, plays at Stuttgart. Bayer Leverkusen visits Union Berlin for an eagerly awaited game that could set the tone for both team’s seasons.

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