Despite coronavirus, still some European soccer on TV this weekend
The spread of the coronavirus shut down all professional sports in Italy on Tuesday, and Spain’s top soccer league closed Thursday for a minimum of two weeks.
La Liga had planned to conduct games in empty stadiums but decided to suspend play when Real Madrid went into a two-week quarantine after a basketball player at the club contracted the virus. The basketball and soccer teams share facilities in Madrid.
In France, games in the first and second division will go forward behind closed doors through April 15.
In Germany, the Bundesliga was preparing to play in empty stadiums but was being pressured by supporter groups to suspend games.
In England, last Wednesday’s Premier League fixture between Manchester City and Arsenal was postponed. An hour after the league announced Thursday that this weekend’s games would be played as planned, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the virus. The league has called an emergency meeting for Friday morning, when it is expected to alter its schedule to play in empty stadiums or suspend play.
MLS, the second-tier USL Championship, the U.S. Soccer Federation and CONCACAF all canceled games in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic.
Here are the best of the remaining games that may — or may not – be played.
Bundesliga: Bayern Munich (17-4-4), unbeaten in its last 15 in all competition, will be protecting a four-point lead atop the table if it plays Saturday at Union Berlin (9-13-3) in what will be an empty stadium. Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, the league’s leading scorer, hasn’t had a goal since Feb. 21.
Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain has all but clinched its seventh French title in eight years but there’s a surprise in second, where Frank McCourt’s Marseille team (16-4-8) is closing in on its best finish in nine seasons. A win over Montpellier (11-10-7) on Saturday (BeIN Sports, 9:30 a.m. PST) and losses by third-place Rennes (15-8-5) and fourth-place Lille (15-9-4) would leave Marseille with at least a nine-point bulge on its nearest challenger with nine games left.
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