MATCHDAY: United aims to reach cup final; PSG without Neymar
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Wednesday:
Manchester United's place in the League Cup final looks to be assured ahead of the second leg against Nottingham Forest in the semifinals. United won 3-0 away in the first leg last week. In its first season under manager Erik ten Hag, the team is looking to end a trophy drought stretching back to 2017. United won the League Cup that year, as well as the Europa League. United will be without midfielder Christian Eriksen, who could miss most of the remainder of the season because of an ankle injury sustained against Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Neymar won’t travel to Montpellier with his Paris Saint-Germain teammates in the French league because of “muscular fatigue." Neymar opened the scoring in PSG’s 1-1 draw with Reims at the Parc des Princes over the weekend but missed training on Tuesday to receive treatment, PSG said. The French champions have won only one of their last four league games, losing two, seeing their lead over second-place Lens cut to three points. Lens hosts Nice and third-place Marseille travels to Nantes.
Cremonese will be hoping to continue its run of upsets in the Italian Cup when it plays at Roma looking to reach the semifinals for only the second time in its history. Cremonese, rock bottom of Serie A, beat league leader Napoli in the previous round to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 1997. The winner will face either Fiorentina or Torino, which face each other less than two weeks after Torino won in Tuscany in the league.
Spanish league leader Barcelona visits sixth-place Real Betis in a match postponed because of the teams' participation in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia in January. Barcelona defeated Betis in a penalty shootout in the semifinals before eventually winning the final against Real Madrid. Barcelona has won five in a row in all competitions, as well as all of its last five away matches against Betis in the Spanish league. Betis, 16 points behind Barcelona in the league, has won one of its last four games across all tournaments. It is three points behind fourth-place Atletico Madrid in the final Champions League place.
João Cancelo could make his debut for Bayern Munich against Mainz in the German Cup after signing from Manchester City and midfielder Leon Goretzka is set to return from injury. Bayern hasn't reached the German Cup quarterfinals since the 2019-20 season, an unfamiliar blip in its dominance of domestic soccer. After three consecutive 1-1 draws to start 2022, Bayern needs to step things up in this round of 16 game against Mainz, which is fresh off a 5-2 win over Bochum in the Bundesliga. Last season's cup winner Leipzig is on a run of 16 games unbeaten in all competitions as the title defense continues against Hoffenheim, which hasn't had a win since October.
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The Associated Press