MATCHDAY: Desperate Chelsea goes to stubborn Fulham in EPL
A look at what’s happening around European soccer on Saturday:
After a six-game run featuring four losses, Chelsea's expensively assembled team has dropped to ninth place — 10 points off the lead — ahead of a London derby at Fulham in the Premier League.
A 4-0 thrashing of fourth-tier Morecambe in the FA Cup last weekend allowed Chelsea to regain the winning feeling and saw Timo Werner get back in the goals following a 12-match scoring drought.
Third-from-last Fulham is proving to be harder to beat than at the start of the season after shoring up its defense, and has drawn its last five league games.
Fourth-placed Leicester could climb to second place with a home win over Southampton while at the other end, next-to-last West Bromwich Albion looks for a first win under new manager Sam Allardyce to move closer to safety. Leeds and West Ham host Brighton and Burnley, respectively.
Borussia Dortmund’s encouraging progression under new coach Edin Terzić (3-1 win in Leipzig last weekend was his third in four Bundesliga games) faces a test from Mainz, which hopes to leave the bottom in Bo Svensson’s second game in charge.
Svensson’s debut was a home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend, but Mainz has a good record in Dortmund, where it won two of its last three visits in the league. Despite the loss to Dortmund, Leipzig can move to the top for one night at least with a win at Wolfsburg, which has proved very difficult to beat this season.
At the other end of the table, Cologne hosts Hertha Berlin for a duel that could have implications for either side’s coach, and Hoffenheim hosts Arminia Bielefeld for another game between struggling teams. Also, Werder Bremen hosts Augsburg, and Borussia Mönchengladbach hopes to follow last weekend’s win over Bayern Munich with another at Stuttgart in the late game.
Promoted Spezia looks for a third consecutive win when it visits relegation-threatened Torino. Hellas Verona can move into the discussion for a Europa League spot if it wins at Bologna.
Also, Sampdoria will move into the top half of the table with a win over visiting Udinese.
Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain will be without coach Mauricio Pochettino for the trip to an improving Angers side in seventh place. Pochettino has won two of his first three games in charge since replacing the fired Thomas Tuchel but he tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday and must self-isolate. Second-placed PSG needs only a draw to move above leader Lyon on goal difference.
In the day's other game, Marseille can move up to third place if it beats rock-bottom Nimes at home. Marseille remains a title contender since it has played two games less than all of the other sides in the top eight and still has to host PSG.