Plenty of excitement in European leagues this weekend

August 26, 2017

Lionel Messi will have the spotlight all to himself this weekend in the Spanish league.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos, Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann will all miss the second round of matches.

At Alaves on Saturday, Messi will lead a Barcelona side that is still reeling from the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain. Suarez is out with a right knee injury, and Andres Iniesta is trying to recover from a knee knock that has sidelined him for two matches.

Atletico will travel to Las Palmas on Saturday without Griezmann, who starts a two-match ban for using disrespectful language with a referee.

Manchester United get its first real test of the Premier League season when Leicester visit Old Trafford today.

Leicester, the surprise 2016 champion, arrive with three points after its 2-0 win over Brighton last weekend.

West Bromwich Albion and league newcomer Huddersfield are the other teams with two wins from two games and they play Stoke and Southampton, respectively.

The standout match is Liverpool's home game against Arsenal, which has sought-after forward Alexis Sanchez available again after an abdominal injury.


New campaign


Fresh off a chastening loss to Liverpool in the Champions League play-offs, Hoffenheim return to Bundesliga action seeking a second straight win to open the new campaign.

Hoffenheim started with a 1-0 home victory over Werder Bremen and next face a trip to Bayer Leverkusen, which lost 3-1 at title-holder Bayern Munich in its first match.

Bayern visit Bremen, while Borussia Dortmund host Hertha Berlin.

There could be some animosity in the air when new Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti and sporting director Walter Sabatini visit their former club, Roma today.

Roma's Boston-based president James Pallotta has been critical of both men in a series of interviews recently, saying Spalletti was too sensitive in handling the media and that he clashed with Sabatini over personnel decisions.

Also this weekend, six-time defending champions Juventus visit Genoa, overhauled AC Milan host Cagliari and Napoli face Atalanta fresh off its qualification for the Champions League.

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