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Friday, April 26, 2019, 18:10
What to watch in Europe's leading soccer countries
By Associated Press
Friday, April 26, 2019, 18:10 By Associated Press

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi sits at the bench during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Deportivo Alaves and FC Barcelona at the Medizorrosa stadium in Vitoria, Spain, April 23, 2019. (ALVARO BARRIENTOS / AP)

What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:

Sixth-place Manchester United hosts fourth-place Chelsea on Sunday

Spain

Barcelona can clinch its 26th Spanish league title on Saturday.

Lionel Messi and his teammates could even become champions without kicking a ball if second-place Atletico Madrid loses its early match at Valladolid. If Atletico draws, Barcelona would then need just a point against Levante later in the day. If Atletico wins, then a win by Barcelona would suffice to secure its eighth league crown in 11 seasons.

Barcelona is looking to wrap up the league title before the team starts its Champions League semifinal against Liverpool next week.

ALSO READ: Pogba selected in Premier League team of the season

Also in La Liga this weekend, third-place Real Madrid visits relegation-threatened Rayo Vallecano on Sunday in a Spanish capital derby.

England

Manchester City looks to have the tougher match this weekend in the race for the title with Liverpool in the Premier League.

City, which leads Liverpool by a point with three games left, is away to a Burnley side that drew at Chelsea in their last match and won its previous three games to pull clear of relegation trouble.

Liverpool kicks off the third-to-last round of games with a home match against already-relegated Huddersfield, which is in last place on just 14 points.

City will retain the title if the team wins its last three games, with Leicester at home and Brighton away the remaining matches.

In the four-team fight for Champions League qualification behind the top two, two of the protagonists meet when sixth-place Manchester United hosts fourth-place Chelsea on Sunday. A loss for United would virtually end its chances of finishing in the top four, meaning a third season out of the Champions League since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013.

Tottenham could seal a top-four spot with a win at home to West Ham on Saturday and if Arsenal also loses at Leicester a day later.

Manchester City's Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane, right, celebrate at the end of the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester, England, April 24, 2019. Manchester City won 2-0. (JON SUPER / AP)

France

Now that Paris Saint-Germain has clinched the French league title with five games left, the team looks to secure the double when it takes on Rennes in the French Cup final on Saturday.

Neymar could start at Stade de France after coming on as a substitute last weekend, the Brazil forward's first performance since breaking his right foot in January.

Although the title race is over, the two remaining Champions League places still have to be decided. Second-place Lille is six points ahead of Lyon in third place and big favorite to qualify automatically for next season's competition. Lille is at home to Nimes and Lyon travels to play Bordeaux on Friday.

Third place earns a slot in the qualify rounds of the Champions League, and Lyon cannot afford to slip up as fourth-place Saint-Etienne is only three points behind while fifth-place Marseille is five points back. Both are at home on Sunday, with Saint-Etienne facing Toulouse and Marseille playing Nantes.

Also Sunday, Stephanie Frappart is set to become the first woman to referee a first-division match in France when Amiens faces Strasbourg.

Italy

While Juventus has already clinched the Italian league title, the fight for the final Champions League places is tighter than ever.

AC Milan is in fourth place — the final qualifying spot — but a run of one win in its past seven matches in all competitions has left the team above fifth-place Atalanta only thanks to a better head-to-head record, which is the tiebreaker in Italy.

Roma is a point back, with Torino two points further adrift. Lazio, in eighth place, is only four points off a Champions League berth.

Milan visits Torino and Lazio is away to Sampdoria on Sunday. Atalanta hosts struggling Udinese on Monday, while Roma welcomes Cagliari on Saturday.

Third-place Inter Milan, which has five points more than Milan and Atalanta, hosts Juventus.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester, England, April 24, 2019.(MARTIN RICKETT / PA / AP)

Germany

Bundesliga title rivals Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund play teams embroiled in a relegation battle in the fourth-to-last round of games.

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Bayern, which leads by one point, is away to next-to-last Nuremberg. Dortmund hosts Schalke, which is only one place above the relegation zone but six points clear.

If Nuremberg loses, it will be relegated if Schalke avoids defeat in Dortmund.

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