Here’s a look at Friday’s European soccer news:
Southampton is one the top Premier League teams and has a five-match unbeaten streak into a home game against Norwich. This is the first match in the 27th round. Norwich is five points away from safety. Southampton, which has moved to 10th place — 12 from the bottom three — shouldn’t be worried about being relegated this season.
If it wants to avoid being relegated from the Spanish league, bottom side Levante will host Elche. Two rounds ago, Levante pulled off a 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid to save its life. The team then drew 1-1 at Celta Vigo. Levante is still nine points away from safety, and it now returns home to Valencia where it has lost two consecutive games.
Relegation-threatened Stuttgart visits Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga where it aims to end its eight-game winless run. American coach Pellegrino Mattarazzo’s team, which is currently in second place in a direct promotion spot with 11 games remaining, needs to win games in order to avoid being relegated for the third consecutive season. Hoffenheim’s performance is good, though, as it came from behind to win against Wolfsburg to move up to fifth place with its second consecutive victory. Sebastian Hoeness’s team could move into fourth place in the Champions League qualifier if it beats Stuttgart.
Under Bruno Genesio, Rennes is scoring freely and playing some the most beautiful soccer in the league. His side would be in fourth place in the automatic Europa League spots if they win at Montpellier, which is mid-table. With 13 goals in five games, the goal difference of plus 24, which is second to Paris Saint-Germain, is increasing. Gaetan Laborde, forward, is near the top of the scoring charts with Rennes having scored 12 goals. Serhou Guirassy, striker, is back in action after scoring twice last weekend. It’s a close race for Europe, and Montpellier could jump up to sixth if it wins.