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European soccer weekend: What to watch in the main leagues

What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend: ENGLAND Huddersfield ended Manchester United's unbeaten start to the Premier League last month and will attempt to do the same to Manchester City on Saturday.

City starts the 13th round with an eight-point lead, having won 11 straight league matches amid a run of 17 victories in a row in all competitions. Huddersfield has lost only one of its six home games since returning to England's top flight for the first time in 45 years.

Second-place United is at home to another promoted team, Brighton, while the standout game is between Liverpool and third-place Chelsea at Anfield. Chelsea has won its last four games to revive its hopes of retaining the title. After Liverpool, the defending champions have a benign run of fixtures beyond Christmas.

— By Steve Douglas in Manchester.

SPAIN

Valencia gets its chance to show it is a true contender in the La Liga race.

It will put its eight-match winning streak to the test when it hosts leader Barcelona in one of the most anticipated matches of the season.

Valencia has a chance on Sunday at Mestalla Stadium to cut its four-point gap to the Catalan club, which has been thriving with 11 wins in 12 matches.

Third-place Real Madrid, 10 points off the lead, will try to get back in contention when it hosts struggling Malaga on Saturday.

Fourth-place Atletico Madrid, also 10 points behind Barcelona, is at Levante.

Fifth-place Sevilla is at sixth-place Villarreal on Sunday for its first game since the announcement that coach Eduardo Berizzo has been diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his prostate.

— By Tales Azzoni in Madrid.

FRANCE

Paris Saint-Germain can strike the first serious blow in the French title race if it wins at defending champion Monaco on Sunday.

Monaco is reeling from its elimination from the Champions League group stage this week, and will fall nine points behind league leader PSG if it loses at Stade Louis II.

Monaco, which beat PSG convincingly at home last season, has already lost twice while PSG is unbeaten and in rich scoring form with 43 in 13 games.

Lyon and Marseille are in third and fourth place, respectively, and poised to take advantage if Monaco loses.

But Lyon faces a potentially difficult trip to Nice while Marseille has an easier-looking home game against Guingamp.

Lille, meanwhile, is in disarray following the suspension of coach Marcelo Bielsa following a string of poor results. Lille in 19th place and travels on Saturday to play Montpellier, which has the best defense in the league.

— By Jerome Pugmire in Paris.

GERMANY

Schalke visits Borussia Dortmund on Saturday knowing that a win in the Ruhr derby could provide the final push for Dortmund coach Peter Bosz, hanging onto his position tenuously with his team in crisis.

Dortmund, which previously led the Bundesliga, hasn't won in the league since September and the 2-1 defeat at home to Tottenham in the Champions League on Tuesday extended a spiraling feeling of helplessness at the club. Dortmund was five points clear of Bayern Munich last month but finds itself nine points behind the new leader.

Schalke arrives at the Westfalenstadion full of confidence after five wins in seven games unbeaten, including the German Cup. In its last five league games it has collected 12 points more than Dortmund, and Domenico Tedesco's side is second to Bayern.

Bayern visits Borussia Moenchengladbach for the late game on Saturday, when it will aim to stretch Jupp Heynckes' winning start to nine games across all competitions since he returned as coach.

— By Ciaran Fahey in Berlin.

ITALY

New Udinese coach Massimo Oddo has a rough first match in charge on Sunday, when Serie A leader Napoli visits.

Oddo, who has less than two years of coaching experience, replaced the fired Luigi Delneri on Tuesday.

Napoli has a two-point advantage over second-placed Inter Milan, the only other unbeaten side in the Italian top flight. Inter visits Cagliari on Saturday.

Six-time defending champion Juventus is four points behind Napoli and it hosts struggling Crotone on Saturday.

Elsewhere, AC Milan needs a win at home over Torino to lift some of the pressure off coach Vincenzo Montella.

— By Daniella Matar in Milan.

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