A look at what’s happening in the Europa League on Thursday:
CELTIC VS. MILAN
Zlatan Ibrahimović is back to his best for the Europa League match at Celtic after recovering from the coronavirus. Ibrahimović returned to training last week and scored two goals as AC Milan beat Inter Milan 2-1 in a Serie A derby on Saturday. Milan is the early leader of the Italian league after winning all four of its opening matches. However, it only reached the Europa League group stage after a nervy 9-8 penalty shootout win over Portuguese club Rio Ave, having netted a fortunate last-gasp equalizer in extra time. Celtic comes into the game on the back of a 2-0 loss to fierce Glasgow rival Rangers in the Scottish league.
NAPOLI VS. AZ ALKMAAR
Dutch soccer club AZ Alkmaar flew into Naples with 13 players sidelined with coronavirus infections. That includes eight new cases among players following an outbreak reported earlier. Most of those players do not have symptoms. AZ has named a squad of 19 other players for the match. Napoli will be full of confidence after beating high-scoring Atalanta 4-1 at the weekend.
YOUNG BOYS VS. ROMA
Roma and Edin Džeko come into the match at Young Boys in good form. Džeko scored his first two goals of the season on Sunday as Roma came from behind to beat Benevento 5-2. Roma won on its last trip to Switzerland, against Basel in 2010. However, Young Boys has won all three of their European encounters at home to Italian opposition — Udinese, Napoli and Juventus.
TOTTENHAM VS. LASK
After coming on as a substitute against West Ham for his first appearance since returning to Tottenham, Gareth Bale could get his first start in the match against LASK — the fourth-place team in Austria last season. It is the third time Mourinho is coaching in the competition, having won it with Porto and Manchester United having won it twice previously, the Portuguese is targeting a hat-trick. “It is difficult, it is a very long competition, the group phase is tricky, then you go to the knockouts and you get teams coming from the Champions League, which is very unfair,” Mourinho said. “If you play Champions League and you don’t qualify, you go home. In the Europa League group phase, if you finish third you go home.”
RAPID VIENNA VS. ARSENAL
Arsenal is also playing an Austrian team in Rapid Vienna, which came second in the domestic league last season and was subsequently knocked out by Gent in the Champions League qualifying rounds. Rapid's notable runs in Europe have included finishing as runner-up in the Cup Winners’ Cup in both 1985 and 1996. Arsenal may choose to rotate but won't be playing Mesut Ozil, who wasn't included on the Europa League squad list.
BAYER LEVERKUSEN VS. NICE
Leverkusen will likely be without Charles Aranguiz against Nice over fitness concerns, but promising 17-year-old forward Florian Wirtz could return after being injured on Germany under-21 duty. Leverkusen is unbeaten this season in all competitions but three of its four Bundesliga games have been draws.
HOFFENHEIM VS. RED STAR
Andrej Kramaric was riding high last month after scoring twice in Hoffenheim's 4-1 win over Bayern Munich, but the Croatia forward has to sit out this game after a positive test for the coronavirus. Hoffenheim hoped to have around 6,000 fans against Red Star but will now play in an empty stadium because of rising infection rates locally.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports