European football matchday: Atletico Madrid face stern Sevilla test in bid for title; goalkeeper conundrum as Man United take on Brighton

A look at what’s happening in European football on Sunday.

The Associated Press April 04, 2021 10:32:08 IST
European football matchday: Atletico Madrid face stern Sevilla test in bid for title; goalkeeper conundrum as Man United take on Brighton

While this season has seen Dean Henderson mainly used in Cup tournaments, he has featured in the last six matches in all competitions after David De Gea returned to Spain for the birth of his first child. AFP

A look at what’s happening in European football on Sunday:

Spain

Atlético Madrid face a critical test in its title bid when the league leaders visit fourth-placed Sevilla. Real Madrid have closed the gap to three points, and Barcelona are four points adrift before playing Monday. Atlético have squandered a once double-digit advantage over the past two months with just four wins in nine rounds.

João Félix is doubtful with a leg injury and forward Yannick Carrasco is serving a one-game suspension, leaving coach Diego Simeone with Luis Suárez and Ángel Correa in attack. The match pits the two stingiest defenses in the league against one another. Atlético have allowed a league-low 18 goals; Sevilla are next with 21. Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis visit Elche seeking to keep up their strong form after winning five of their last six games. Alavés play Celta Vigo needing a win to move off the bottom of the table, while Valencia are at a Cádiz side that is also trying to stay out of the relegation fight.

England

Manchester United head into the match against Brighton with uncertainty over who will play in goal. While this season has seen Dean Henderson mainly used in Cup tournaments, he has featured in the last six matches in all competitions after David De Gea returned to Spain for the birth of his first child.

While United are in second place, Brighton are focussed on Premier League survival, sitting six points clear of the relegation zone. Newcastle, with only two wins in its last 18 league games, are only two points above the bottom three as they prepare to host Tottenham. Jose Mourinho’s side can go level on points with fourth-place Chelsea after the west London club’s surprising loss to West Bromwich. Fulham go into a game against Aston Villa two points behind 17th-place Newcastle, having lost their last two fixtures. Southampton and Burnley, who are both seven points ahead of Fulham, meet on the south coast.

Germany

Neither Union Berlin nor Hertha Berlin imagined they could be in their respective Bundesliga positions with seven games remaining as they outlined their goals for the season. Ahead of the league’s fourth-ever derby between the rivals, Hertha are languishing in danger of relegation and Union are challenging for European qualification.

A change of coach haven’t prevented Hertha sliding to 15th in the 18-team league, just one point above Cologne in the relegation zone. Union were only targeting survival from their second-ever season in Germany’s top-flight, yet Urs Fischer’s team are flying high in seventh – 14 points above Hertha. Union, who host Sunday’s derby in their Stadion An der Alten Försterei, will take heart from knowing the home team has won each of the three top-flight derbies between the side so far. Also  on Sunday, promoted Stuttgart host Werder Bremen.

France

Sixth-place Marseille continue their push for fifth and a Europa League slot when they hosts last-place Dijon at Stade Velodrome. Marseille coach Jorge Sampaoli will look for his third win in four games since taking charge, especially given that Dijon have lost 10 straight league games and seems condemned to relegation.

Rennes and Marseille are also in contention for the Europa League since they are one point behind Marseille. Both have tricky away games at midtable sides, with Rennes going to Reims and Montpellier traveling to Angers.

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