A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Sunday:
Manchester City begins the defense of its Premier League title with a trip to Tottenham, for whom the champions’ transfer target Harry Kane could feature. Kane was back in training with the Spurs squad on Friday and manager Nuno Espirito Santo said he would make a late decision on whether to play the striker against a team Kane is keen to join. City could give a first start to Jack Grealish, who signed for British-record $139 million in the offseason. Newcastle hosts West Ham in the other game but signed midfielder Joe Willock too late on Friday for him to be included in its squad for the game.
Barcelona’s first season without Lionel Messi in nearly two decades begins with a home match against Real Sociedad. The Catalan club lost Messi to Paris Saint-Germain after being unable to give him a new contract because of its financial struggles. Barcelona’s attack on Sunday is expected to be led by Antoine Griezmann and new signing Memphis Depay. Atletico Madrid’s title defense begins at Celta Vigo, with coach Diego Simeone able to count on nearly the same squad that triumphed last season, including former Barcelona striker Luis Suarez. Sevilla, fourth place last season, hosts promoted Rayo Vallecano.
American coach Jesse Marsch makes his Bundesliga debut in charge of Leipzig at Mainz, which has been hit by coronavirus infections. Mainz had a total of 11 players in quarantine this week after three tested positive for COVID-19. Three members of the coaching staff were also in quarantine. Mainz coach Bo Svensson has a job on his hands to field a competitive team. Hertha Berlin visits Cologne for the last game of the opening round.
With attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet in scoring form, Marseille will be confident of following up its opening-game win at Montpellier with a home success against Bordeaux as Stade Velodrome welcomes back fans. Payet looked trim and light on his feet in his two-goal starring performance last weekend. Elsewhere, two new coaches face off when Angers plays Lyon. Former Auxerre striker Gerard Baticle took charge at Angers after Stephane Moulin’s 10-year reign ended. Dutchman Peter Bosz moved into the hot seat at Lyon after Rudi Garcia was replaced. Bosz is keen on playing attractive soccer. But first he must show his worth after being fired by German club Bayer Leverkusen midway through last season.
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