MATCHDAY: Chelsea hosts Fulham; Bilbao looks to end streak
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Friday:
Big-spending Chelsea hosts Fulham in the Premier League on Friday in its first match following the end of a record-breaking January transfer window, with Graham Potter looking to incorporate some of the expensive new signings into his struggling team. Chelsea completed the deadline day signing of Enzo Fernandez for a British record fee of $131.4 million and will hope he can inspire a turnaround in the team’s form as it mounts a bid for Champions League qualification.
Athletic Bilbao hosts Cadiz looking for its first Spanish league win since before the World Cup. Athletic is winless in five straight league games, with two draws and three consecutive defeats. Its last win in the competition was 3-0 at home against Valladolid in November. The Basque Country club, sitting in ninth place, did succeed in the Copa del Rey recently, making it to the semifinals for the fourth straight season. Cadiz’s 2-0 league win against Mallorca last weekend was only its second victory in eight matches in all competitions. It sits just inside the relegation zone in the league.
Czech striker Patrik Schick could return for the first time since Nov. 1 as Bayer Leverkusen plays Augsburg following an adductor muscle problem. Coach Xabi Alonso has given Bayer Leverkusen a lift since taking over in October but his momentum was checked last week in a 2-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund, ending a run of five wins. Now Leverkusen visits an Augsburg team which is on the fringes of the relegation fight. Augsburg signed no fewer than seven new players in the January transfer window, the most of any team in the league, on bargain deals and loans from across Europe. Coach Enrico Maassen faces the task of integrating them all into his squad.
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Credit: MATCHDAY: Chelsea hosts Fulham; Bilbao looks to end streak