What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:
Tottenham’s hopes of Champions League qualification could rest on its dismal record against top-six rivals being halted. In away games at least.
A victory over Manchester United on Wednesday showed Tottenham is more than capable of beating leading sides at home, as did the dismantling of Liverpool in October.
But Tottenham travels to Liverpool on Sunday with 11 losses in 18 away games against top-six sides under Mauricio Pochettino and only one victory — against Manchester City. Fifth-place Tottenham is two points behind Chelsea and Liverpool.
The title is a procession, with City making the short trip to Burnley on Saturday after extending its lead to 15 points over Man United. Jose Mourinho’s side on Saturday hosts Huddersfield, which won the reverse fixture in October. Sixth-place Arsenal hosts Everton on Saturday while Chelsea completes the 26th round of games at Watford on Monday.
Barcelona, on Sunday, faces the only team that has succeeded against Lionel Messi and company in recent months.
Crosstown rival Espanyol ended Barcelona’s 29-game unbeaten streak in a Copa del Rey quarterfinal first leg two weeks ago, although Barcelona avoided elimination by winning the return match 2-0 at Camp Nou.
Barcelona has an 11-point lead over Atletico Madrid, which hosts third-place Valencia on Sunday with the teams separated by six points.
Fourth-place Real Madrid, 19 points off the lead with a game in hand, will try to move closer to the front-runners when it meets struggling Levante on Saturday.
— By Tales Azzoni in Madrid
Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Stoeger makes a quick return to Cologne on Friday after leaving the club in December.
Stoeger, remembered fondly at Cologne for earning promotion and overseeing steady progress until this season’s winless start, is hoping to end Dortmund’s three-game run without a victory.
Last-place Cologne is fighting for Bundesliga survival but has gone four games unbeaten, including three wins.
“The euphoria that’s developing here is positive. The lads will keep throwing themselves in there. Nobody here has given up,” said Cologne general manager Armin Veh.
Stuttgart striker Mario Gomez also faces a quick reunion at Wolfsburg on Saturday. Tayfun Korkut makes his debut as Stuttgart coach, hoping to revitalize the side after six defeats in seven league games.
Bayern Munich, which has a 16-point lead at the top, visits Mainz on Saturday, when Borussia Moenchengladbach hosts Leipzig in a duel for European places. Relegation-threatened Hamburger SV faces Hannover on Sunday.
— By Ciaran Fahey in Berlin
Inter Milan will chase a first win in two months at home to struggling Crotone on Saturday.
Inter made it seven league matches without a victory last weekend when it drew at 18th-place Spal. The form slump has seen the club slide down the table to fourth, 13 points behind leader Napoli, which visits last-place Benevento on Sunday.
Juventus, a point behind Napoli, hosts Sassuolo earlier in the day. Third-place Lazio is 11 points off the pace and needs a win at home to Genoa on Monday to keep its slender hopes alive.
—By Daniella Matar in Milan
Mathieu Debuchy is trying another spell in France and Saint-Etienne is hoping the right back can help its porous defense.
The 32-year-old Debuchy left Arsenal on transfer deadline day after making only 30 appearances for the London club since 2014.
Debuchy previously played 242 matches in the French top-flight and won the title with Lille in 2011.
Saint-Etienne, the most decorated French club with 10 league titles, has conceded 38 goals in 23 games this season. The club is two points above the relegation zone ahead of a trip to promoted Amiens on Saturday.
Paris Saint-Germain travels to Lille on Saturday looking to maintain its 11-point lead over Lyon and Marseille at the top.
Seven-time champion Lyon faces a tricky game at defending champion Monaco on Sunday while Marseille hosts Metz on Friday.
—By Samuel Petrequin in Paris.
More AP soccer coverage: https://www.apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer