A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:
Ronald Koeman could be facing his last game in charge of Barcelona when it faces a challenging trip to defending champion Atletico Madrid. The Dutch coach is under extreme pressure after Barcelona strung together embarrassing losses in the Champions League, and Spain’s sports press is humming with rumors that he could be fired regardless of the result. Koeman will not be in the dugout while he serves the second of a two-game suspension for protesting. The match will be the first for forward Antoine Griezmann since leaving the cash-strapped Barcelona on loan to return to Atletico. Radamel Falcao aims to keep up his superb start with Rayo Vallecano by scoring in a fourth consecutive game at Osasuna. Cadiz welcomes Valencia after its coach publicly criticized some players who went out partying at a club without his permission following a loss. Mallorca hosts Levante with both sides missing several injured players, including Mallorca forward Take Kubo.
For the third time this season Manchester United plays in the Saturday lunchtime game as Everton travels to Old Trafford. It is another quick turnaround for United, which was in action in the Champions League on Wednesday when Cristiano Ronaldo’s late goal earned a 2-1 win over Villareal. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side lost last weekend in the league in a limp performance against Aston Villa. It will be a tough test against Rafa Benitez’s side, which could go above United with a win. Five teams are without a win after six matches for the first time in England’s top division since 1964: Newcastle, Leeds, Southampton, Burnley and Norwich. There’s a meeting at Turf Moor between Burnley and Norwich, which is on zero points. Southampton goes to Chelsea, which is a point behind leader Liverpool. Leeds hosts Watford, and Newcastle travels to Wolverhampton. Brighton has, however, made a surprisingly strong start, traveling to Arsenal in the late game after taking 13 points from the 18 available so far.
Struggling in Serie A, Juventus faces Torino in a derby looking to build on its Champions League victory over Chelsea. Returning Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri had been slow to make Federico Chiesa the focus of his attack but the Italy international was given the job by default against Chelsea after injuries to Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata. Chiesa responded by scoring against Chelsea in a standout performance and he’ll again be expected to have a major role against Torino. ”This match will be tougher than the Chelsea game,” Allegri said. Also, defending champion Inter Milan can extend its unbeaten start against a talented Sassuolo side. And Genoa visits last-placed Salernitana.
Borussia Dortmund is again without injured striker Erling Haaland as it hosts Augsburg in the Bundesliga’s eighth round. Marco Rose’s team has dearly missed the Norwegian forward in the two games he’s been absent from: A 1-0 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend followed by an unimpressive 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Tuesday. Dortmund clearly struggled without Haaland’s imposing presence. Wolfsburg hosts Borussia Monchengladbach in an intriguing clash, Stuttgart welcomes Hoffenheim, and Freiburg visits Hertha Berlin before Leipzig hosts promoted Bochum in the late game.
Amine Gouiri is making a name for himself with Nice by co-leading the league scoring charts. The skillful and mobile Gouiri has five goals and two assists heading into the home game against Brest. While Nice is in fourth place Brest is struggling in 19th and is one of only two sides yet to win. More good news for Gouiri and strike partner Kasper Dolberg is that Brest’s defense has allowed 16 goals in eight games. In the other game Montpellier hosts Strasbourg with both around midtable. They are scoring goals but conceding too many.
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