Five things: Talking points ahead of the European football weekend

Floundering Napoli faces 14th-placed AC Milan in Serie A this weekend, while Bundesliga giant Bayern Munich will push for third straight win under Hansi Flick.

Dries Mertens' Napoli will be up against AC Milan on the weekend in Serie A.   -  Getty Images

Without Ronaldo, Juve looks to extend unbeaten run

Juventus visits fifth-placed Atalanta before hosting Atletico Madrid in the Champions League next week as it aims to extend its unbeaten run this season to stay top of Serie A.

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to miss the trip to Atalanta due to fitness concerns, but head coach Maurizio Sarri has insisted he has no problem with the superstar forward.

Sarri cited a bruised knee for his decision to bring off Ronaldo and the Portugal international this week confirmed he has recently been playing through the pain barrier.

Maurizio Sarri's side is just one point ahead of Antonio Conte's Inter Milan after 12 matches, with Lazio and Cagliari eight points adrift of the leaders in joint third.

Floundering Milan meets Napoli

Serie A runners-up Napoli is in crisis, having slipped to seventh, and desperately needs a result at 14th-placed AC Milan, which is itself floundering.

Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli heads for AC Milan amid reports he has two games left to save his job.

Napoli has gone four games without a win and has 19 points -- 13 behind leaders Juventus -- its worst tally after 12 games since the 2011-2012 season when it finished fifth.

After being held 1-1 by Salzburg in the Champions League, it travels to Liverpool next week in a key game for the former Chelsea, AC Milan and Real Madrid boss.

It will be a tough challenge for Milan, which has 13 points from 12 matches, to pose threat to Napoli, whom it hasn't beaten in five years.

Flick wants to make it three in three

After leading Bayern to a 2-0 Champions League victory over Olympiacos in his first match at the helm and following it up with a 4-0 Klassiker crushing of Borussia Dortmund last weekend, Hansi Flick will aim for a perfect start with a third-straight win.

The two winning performances earned Flick the confidence of Rummenigge, outgoing president Uli Hoeness and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic as he was announced as Niko Kovac's replacement for this season.

Bayern travels to Dusseldorf to face Fortuna, which has not beaten Bayern in their last eight attempts since a 3-1 triumph in the DFB Cup second round in September 1995.

Under Flick, Bayern has scored six without conceding, with Flick also sticking to the same starting line-up in both games - a first for Bayern this season.

Bayern star Lewandowski will be aiming to set a record over the weekend -- his 16 goals after the first 11 games is a new Bundesliga record. He needs one more to match Gerd Müller's record of 17 after 12 matchdays but the Pole has never scored against Düsseldorf.

Neymar return on the cards for PSG

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel has again been left frustrated by Neymar after the Brazilian took time out from recovering from his latest injury to fly to Madrid for the Davis Cup tennis this week.

“I am not his Dad, I'm not the police,” he said before PSG hosts Lille in Ligue 1.

That match is set to see the world's most expensive player make his return from a hamstring injury suffered playing for Brazil against Nigeria on October 13.

“I am his coach, and he has been training well. Did I like the fact he went on this flight? No, not at all. But is it worth me going crazy over? No,” Tuchel added. “If all goes well, he can play tomorrow, but whether he starts or comes off the bench, that depends.”

Neymar has not played for PSG since scoring in a 4-0 win over Angers on October 5.

Lille has already been eliminated from this season's Champions League after just four games and has not yet won on its travels in the current campaign. It comes to Paris without its top scorer, as Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen is suspended.

In addition, coach Christophe Galtier has been left reeling after his assistant coach, Joao Sacramento, and goalkeeping coach Nuno Santos were both allowed to leave to team up with Jose Mourinho at Tottenham Hotspur.

Leader Barca clashes with bottom-placed Leganes

La Liga leader Barcelona will travel to Estadio Municipal de Butarque to face Leganes on Saturday. Barcelona enjoys the top spot in the Spanish league thanks to a better goal difference than its arch rival Real Madrid, which is tied at 25 points with Barca.

Though at the top of the points table, Barca faces threat from Madrid, Atletico, Sevilla and Real Sociedad as La Liga's top five is divided by just two points.

However, it faces little to no threat in the match against Leganes, which lies at the bottom of the table with six points from 13 matches. Leganes has lost five of its six La Liga games against Barcelona, winning the other 2-1 in September last year. In this season, Leganes has won just one match.

Barcelona's away form though raises concern as the side has won only three of its last 11 away ties in all competitions.

 

(With inputs from AFP and PTI)

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