MATCHDAY: Bayern has chance to answer critics after slump
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Friday:
Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen are both in crisis before their high-stakes game in Munich restarts the Bundesliga after the international break. Bayern is without a win in four league games and ended a run of three straight draws by slumping to a 1-0 loss at Augsburg in its last game. Leverkusen has only one win from its opening seven league games. Bayern will be expected to respond in front of its own fans and get its bid for a record-extending 11th straight title back on track. Bayern is already five points behind surprise leader Union Berlin.
Athletic Bilbao hosts Almería aiming for a win that would lift it level on points with Barcelona in second place in the Spanish league. The club that only fields players born in or near the Basque Country regions of Spain and France has excelled since the return of coach Ernesto Valverde. It has four wins, a draw and one loss this season to reach fourth place. Nico Williams is enjoying a breakout season and could be heading for the World Cup in November. The 20-year-old winger and brother of teammate Iñaki Williams has scored in two consecutive rounds for Bilbao and provided the assist for Spain’s winner in a 1-0 victory over Portugal on Tuesday. That guaranteed Spain a spot in the Nations League’s Final Four tournament. Almeria has won only once in the league this season.
Marseille is one of three unbeaten teams in the French top tier — along with league leader Paris Saint-Germain and Lens — and a win at Angers will move it above PSG by one point. Marseille coach Igor Tudor will be without goal-scoring left back Nuno Tavares, who is suspended. He must also decide whether to leave veteran striker Alexis Sanchez on the bench after he played two full matches for Chile during the recent international break. Angers is down in 14th place and has won only two games this season. But they were the last two and coach Gérald Baticle’s side is starting to settle down.
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