There are two games from the Premier League and two from La Liga in our selection this weekend, as sides will be desperate to make domestic progress ahead of the restarting of European competition.
In addition, after another twist last weekend, there’s a crucial match from the Bundesliga that contains two of the division’s top outfits.
All matches kick off in Eastern time. Enjoy the weekend and enjoy the games!
Borussia Dortmund vs. Hoffenheim
Despite dropping points away at Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend, Borussia Dortmund were able to extend their lead at the top of the table to six points following Bayern Munich’s loss to Bayer Leverkusen.
Borussia are back at the Westfalenstadion again on Saturday and will be up against a dangerous opponent in the form of Hoffenheim. Still, on home soil BVB have been outstanding this season, winning nine and drawing one of their 10 top flight matches in front of their own supporters.
Hoffenheim certainly have the potential to spring an upset, although this season they’ve not quite hit the heights of last term. Julian Nagelsmann has watched his side struggle to turn draws into wins and last weekend they were left frustrated as Fortuna Dusseldorf were able to earn a point at Rhein-Neckar-Arena.
You sense they would take a point here, as they languish down in eighth place going into the game. But with Bayern playing later in the day, Dortmund will be desperate to pile even more pressure on their domestic rivals.
Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s challenging sequence of fixtures continues on Saturday, as they head across the capital to take on local rivals Atletico.
Either side of this match Los Blancos have other tough away games to negotiate. On Wednesday they were up against Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the semi-final first leg of the Copa del Rey, while they travel to Amsterdam this Wednesday to face Ajax in the Champions League knockout stages.
They will at least come into the game with improved confidence, having finally found some rhythm under manager Santiago Solari. Their display in the 1-1 draw with Barcelona was full of energy and organisation, something that’s been sorely lacking for the majority of the 2018-19 term.
For Atletico, this has the potential to be a defining encounter. They trail Barcelona by six points going into this weekend and any further losses of points would be a major dent to their title chances; in addition, victory for their great rivals would see Los Blancos move back up into second spot.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Leicester City
Following a fascinating set of recent results in the Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur once again find themselves in a title race, making this meeting with Leicester an intriguing one on Sunday.
Spurs may have a number of injury issues to deal with, including the missing Harry Kane and Dele Alli, but they have managed to keep within five points of the top of the pile. With trips to both City and Liverpool to come before the end of the campaign, they have a chance to haul themselves further into this battle.
Still, Tottenham have a propensity for shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to these must-win matches, as was the case earlier in the campaign when they slipped up against Wolves. Leicester may be struggling at the moment, but they have shown this term they’re capable of earning results against the elite sides.
The Foxes have already beaten City and earned a deserved point at Liverpool this season too. For Spurs it’s a dangerous game and one you sense they must win to keep their outside chances of glory alive.
Manchester City vs. Chelsea
Following on from Tottenham’s encounter will be City, who were able to move back to the summit of the Premier League with victory at Everton on Wednesday.
Despite looking a little more vulnerable than they did last term, Pep Guardiola’s side are still a genuine contender for four pieces of silverware as we move towards the back end of the season. While the others will be viewed as important prizes, you sense retaining their crown as English champions will be most important for the manager.
Chelsea are unlikely to roll over without a fight, although it is difficult to know quite what to expect from Maurizio Sarri’s team at the moment. They followed up a 4-0 loss at Bournemouth with a 5-0 mauling of Huddersfield Town; despite the previous win, there are question marks regarding how well Sarri’s tactics are being implement in big matches.
When these two sides met earlier in the season the Chelsea boss got things spot on, as the Blues ran out comfortable 2-0 winners. With City seemingly back at full tilt, it will take a special gameplan and performance from the visitors if they’re to avoid defeat.
Athletic Club vs. Barcelona
After the Madrid derby on Saturday, Barcelona head to the San Mames knowing they will be able to put distance between one of their rivals, if not both.
This match has the potential to be a challenging one for Ernesto Valverde’s team though, as they will have the midweek Clasico in their legs. The Blaugrana were pushed hard in that match, with Lionel Messi only deemed fit enough to be involved from the bench at the Camp Nou; Valverde will be hoping he’s ready for this one.
Earlier in the campaign Athletic appeared on course for a relegation battle, as they struggled to find any form. The arrival of Gaizka Garitano has sparked them into life in recent weeks, yet there’s still only a three-point gap between the Basque outfit and the bottom three.
It means the San Mames should be abuzz with a brilliant atmosphere and in Inaki Williams the home side have a player with the potential to be devastating in attack. If Barcelona can overcome this hurdle, it will be a big step towards yet another title.
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