MATCHDAY: Ronaldo eyes return for United; Atlético in action
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Wednesday:
Cristiano Ronaldo could return for Manchester United in the Premier League game at Brentford after missing the team's last two games with a hip injury. The Portugal forward has trained for the last two days and should be available, manager Ralf Rangnick said. United squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Aston Villa on Saturday and is languishing in seventh place. Tottenham is a point ahead in sixth place heading into a match at Leicester. Both teams had their games called off over the weekend because their opponents didn't have enough senior players available.
Spanish champion Atlético Madrid tries to rebound from a poor run of results when it visits Real Sociedad in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey. Atlético is coming off elimination in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup and is 16 points behind Spanish league leader Real Madrid with a game in hand. Sociedad is tied on points with Atlético in the league. Second-place Sevilla tries to get closer to Madrid when it visits Valencia. Sevilla is five points behind Madrid with a game in hand. In the other league game, Celta Vigo hosts Osasuna in a match between teams in the bottom half of the standings.
A week after winning one cup competition, Inter Milan is looking to maintain a bid for another when it hosts Empoli in the round of 16 of the Italian Cup. The winner will face Roma or Lecce. Inter beat Juventus to win the Italian Super Cup last week. The Nerazzurri also lead Serie A and are in the last 16 of the Champions League. Sassuolo hosts Cagliari in another cup match and the winner will meet holder Juventus in the final eight.
Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin meet in the third round of the German Cup, stoking a rivalry that has been growing since Union’s promotion to the Bundesliga in 2019. Hertha has traditionally been the big club in the German capital, but it has had to watch as Union thrives while it flounders despite big-money investment from backer Lars Windhorst. Hertha has been flirting with relegation while Union qualified for European competition last season. Union is currently fifth in the Bundesliga. Also in the third round, Borussia Mönchengladbach visits second-division Hannover, Leipzig welcomes Hansa Rostock, and Hoffenheim plays Freiburg.
Defending champion Lille is unbeaten in eight league games heading into a home match against Lorient. After a slow start to its title defense, Lille is up to 10th place and has a game in hand over many teams above it. Two of those are Strasbourg and Montpellier, who play Clermont and Troyes, respectively, in the other games.
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This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune .