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Liga MX 2018 Apertura: What you need to know before kickoff

Liga MX
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Juan Carlos Osorio has to choose: Mexico, U.S. or Europe?

Mexico
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With Granada now relegated, where will Guillermo Ochoa end up?

Granada are officially relegated, Jonathan dos Santos produced another assist, and Real Sociedad are one step closer to a Europa League position.

Here's a look back at the Heroes and Villains from the Mexicans in Europe.

Heroes

Jonathan dos Santos now has two assists in his past three games for Villarreal. On Friday, the 27-year-old's clever through-ball led to Villarreal's second goal in the 3-1 victory over Sporting Gijon. With another three points in hand, the Submarino Amarillo have been able to maintain their noteworthy spot at fifth place through three consecutive wins. As for Dos Santos, the versatile midfielder is once again proving to be one of El Tri's best players in Europe.

It might have been against a fellow Mexican, but Carlos Vela had no problem celebrating his goal against Guillermo Ochoa. During Saturday's 2-1 victory for Real Sociedad over Granada, Vela was able to find the back of the net through a well-placed shot in the 45th minute. La Real are quickly gaining ground near the end of the tournament, and at just two points behind Villarreal, Vela & Co. might be able to make their way into a Europa League-worthy position.

Jonathan dos Santos added another assist to help Villarreal remain in fifth place.

Villains

Adios, El Grana. Following a 2-1 loss to Real Sociedad on Saturday, Granada are officially relegated from La Liga. Newly appointed manager Tony Adams, who was recently given the caretaker job, could do little to salvage the club that was destined for a demotion. In net, Ochoa has had to deal with a countless tally of shots all season from opposition who have never had much trouble from Granada's defense. Now, the big question for Ochoa is where he will move after his loan ends with the relegated side this summer.

Although Carlos Salcedo was able to earn his first start for Fiorentina since February, he might want to forget Sunday's 2-0 loss to Palermo. Following a foul from the Mexican defender in the 31st minute and an ensuing yellow card, Palmero were able to find their first goal through a well-placed free kick from Alessandro Diamanti. By the 57th minute, Salcedo was brought out for the attack-minded Riccardo Saponara. With a backup role in the past few months, it's unlikely that the Viola will utilize their option to buy the player who is currently on loan.

Eintracht Frankfurt's chase for a Europa League spot has faltered after Sunday's narrow 1-0 loss to Hoffenheim. In the attack, Marco Fabian was also more quiet than usual for Die Adler. Despite his numerous interceptions, Hoffenheim did a fantastic job of shutting down the Mexican midfielder through several fouls. Now, if Frankfurt hope to sneak into the Bundesliga's top six, they'll need not only a strong finish but also plenty of other results to work in their favor. That said, it must be mentioned that Fabian and Die Adler recently secured a place in the German Cup final after a midweek victory over Borussia Monchengladbach.

Speaking of the Bundesliga, things are quickly falling apart for Bayer Leverkusen. Friday's 4-1 loss at home was the club's third in their past four league matches. Thanks to injury problems to key players throughout the season, Die Werkself now find themselves with 36 points after 31 games. Javier Hernandez, who is yet to be match-fit, was left without playing time in the defeat. If Leverkusen lose again this upcoming weekend, they might find themselves flirting with relegation.

Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.

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