With the tight English Premier League race pausing for domestic cup play this week, the television spotlight in European soccer shifts to three leagues where the competition is threatening to become a rout.
Ligue 1: The battle for the French title never really developed with unbeaten Paris Saint-Germain winning its first 14 games, ending all suspense by the end of November. Lille remains the closest pursuer but it is 13 points back and will fall even further behind without a result Friday at Marseille (BeIN Sports, 11:45 a.m. PT). Lille has won four in a row in all competition while Marseille has won just once since Christmas and recently lost captain Dimitri Payet for three weeks to a knee injury, a hole the team tried to fill Wednesday by acquiring Mario Balotelli on a transfer from Nice.
La Liga: Atletico Madrid has lost just once this season but playing in the same league as Barcelona, that record is only good for second place, five points back of the defending champion. Atletico, led by French World Cup star Antoine Griezmann (9 goals, 7 assists) and Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak (a league-low 13 goals allowed in 20 games), will need another win to stay close when it plays host to Getafe, which can move into position for a Champions League berth with a win Saturday (BeIN Sports, 7:15 a.m. PT). Atletico’s only La Liga loss came on Sept. 1 while Getafe has lost just once in all competition since Nov. 11.