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A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Thursday:
Fierce rivals Manchester United and Liverpool try again to play their Premier League fixture at Old Trafford, 10 days after the original game was postponed amid protests by United fans against the club's American owners. The match is much bigger for Liverpool, which must win to stand a realistic chance of finishing in the top four and qualify for next season's Champions League. Sixth-place Liverpool is seven points behind fourth-place Chelsea but with two games in hand. United is likely to finish in second place behind already-confirmed champion Manchester City. Everton, which is two points behind Liverpool, can also still qualify for a European competition next season heading into its match at Aston Villa which was rearranged from December, when it was canceled because of a coronavirus outbreak at Villa.
Defending champion Real Madrid needs a win at Granada to get back within two points of Spanish league leader Atlético Madrid ahead of the decisive final two rounds. Atlético opened a five-point gap after beating fifth-place Real Sociedad 2-1 at home on Wednesday. Second-place Barcelona, which drew 3-3 at Levante on Tuesday, was four points back. Madrid is trying to win back-to-back Spanish league titles for the first time since the 2007-08 season. Coach Zinedine Zidane has to deal with a depleted defense for the match against midtable Granada.
German soccer’s traditional season-ending showpiece is taking place before the season ends, demoted from its usual Saturday night prime time slot to a late Thursday kickoff before the Bundesliga’s penultimate round. The German Cup final between Borussia Dortmund and Leipzig will be played in an empty stadium due to continuing coronavirus measures, but its importance is not diminished in any way for two rivals determined to mark a trying season with a trophy. Dortmund is looking for its first title since winning the cup in 2017, while Leipzig hopes to win its first ever trophy before coach Julian Nagelsmann leaves for Bayern Munich. Leipzig was only formed in 2009. The teams played in the league on Saturday, when Jadon Sancho struck late for Dortmund to win 3-2 with injured star striker Erling Haaland watching from the stands. Dortmund is hoping the 20-year-old Haaland will return to lead its attack. Roman Bürki will be back in goal following a knee injury for Marwin Hitz.
A huge mismatch sees high-flying Monaco taking on fourth-tier Rumilly-Vallières for a place in the French Cup final against title holder Paris Saint-Germain next week. Monaco is pushing for an automatic place in next season's Champions League and has won six of its past seven league games without conceding, and has a top striker in France international Wissam Ben Yedder. Rumilly-Vallières is a team of semi-professionals that knocked out second-tier promotion hopeful Toulouse in the quarters. But beating free-scoring Monaco seems a step too far.
Bottom club Crotone will be trying to avoid a ninth defeat in 10 games when it hosts mid-table Hellas Verona.
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The Associated Press