There’s so much at stake in the final weeks of the season, as the days gradually tick down to the summer.
In England and Germany there are still absorbing title races to sample, with just a point separating the top two in both of those divisions. Challengers in each league face difficult contests this weekend.
Elsewhere, there are high-profile encounters in Italy and England, as well as a showdown from the Championship involving two teams desperate to earn promotion to the Premier League.
All kick-offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke
Borussia Dortmund are still clinging on in the Bundesliga title race and will seeking to keep the pressure up on Bayern Munich this weekend when they host bitter rivals Schalke 04.
Dortmund produced one of their best performances in weeks last weekend, as they went to Freiburg and won by an emphatic 4-0 scoreline. A day earlier, Bayern had managed to squeeze past Werder Bremen 1-0, with Niklas Sule netting late on in a result that would have potentially demoralised Dortmund.
While BVB are in contention at the top of the table, Schalke have been unable to build on their second-place finish from last season. They’ve toiled throughout the campaign and sit one place above the relegation playoff spot; while they have a six-point buffer to Stuttgart, if results were to against them it would be a nervy end to the season.
Dortmund will not only be seeking to push their rivals closer to a potential relegation scrap, but they can go top of the table with a win on Saturday. The onus would then be on Bayern to respond at Nuremberg a day later.
Inter Milan vs. Juventus
Saturday, April 27, 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+ (7-day free trial)
Having been crowned as the Serie A champions for the eighth season in succession last weekend, Juventus go to rivals Inter Milan seeking to put a dent in their challenge for a top-four spot.
Inter go into the weekend in a commanding position in the scrap for a Champions League berth, as they sit in third. AC Milan and Atalanta trail the Nerazzurri by five points, and both will be hoping the champions can give them a chance to close the gap this weekend.
In their previous outing, Inter battled to a 1-1 draw with Roma, with controversial forward Mauro Icardi left on the bench. It’ll be intriguing to see if he’s drafted back in for this one, as the Argentina international has a strong goalscoring record when up against the Bianconeri.
For Juventus, giving their Derbi d’Italia rivals a nervy finish to the season has to be their aim. Manager Massimiliano Allegri will want to see his players remain professional in the five games left and earn the 13 points required to finish with 100 points.
Leeds United vs. Aston Villa
Sunday, April 28, 7 a.m. ET, ESPN+ (7-day free trial)
The final knockings of the Championship season are always a joy to watch and the clash between Leeds United and Aston Villa on Sunday should be one of the matches of the weekend.
For Leeds, the game is a must win if they are to take their slender hopes of automatic qualification into the final day of the season. Victory for Sheffield United at home to bottom club Ipswich Town or a point for Norwich City at home to Blackburn Rovers would effectively consign Marcelo Bielsa’s side to the Playoffs.
There’s no guarantee of a struggling Leeds side picking up anything on Sunday either, as Aston Villa have strung together a tremendous run of results to surge into the top six. Dean Smith’s team have now won 10 Championship games in a row and look like the side to avoid in the Playoffs this term.
For Leeds, this match is an important fixture to inject some much-needed momentum into their campaign and potentially lay down a marker against an opponent they may meet again this term.
Burnley vs. Manchester City
Following on from their tremendous win at Manchester United on Wednesday, Manchester City will be seeking to take another big step towards the Premier League title when they visit Burnley on Sunday.
City dealt with their local rivals in impressive style in the derby, seeing off an initial flurry from the Red Devils and then showing their class in the second period. Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane grabbed the crucial goals for Pep Guardiola’s side, sending them back to the top of the Premier League.
There are more hurdles for them to overcome yet though and there’s every chance Liverpool will be back on top of the pile come Friday night, as they host bottom club Huddersfield Town at Anfield. The onus will be on City to respond again in what promises to be a testing environment at Turf Moor.
Having struggled for long spells of the season, Burnley are looking like the side that impressed for so long last season. They earned a creditable draw at Chelsea on Monday and the Clarets’ physical playing style has the potential to make for a testing afternoon for Guardiola’s extraordinary side.
Manchester United vs. Chelsea
For Manchester United, this relentlessly difficult run continues on Sunday, as they welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford looking to get back to winning ways.
Having been outclassed by Barcelona, Everton and Manchester City in their previous three matches, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be desperate to see a response from his players. Despite the wretched recent form, three points would be enough to keep the Red Devils in the battle for the top four spots in the Premier League.
As things stand, United sit in sixth and are three points behind the Blues, who are in fourth and have a superior goal difference. Chelsea missed the chance to put further distance between themselves, the Red Devils and Arsenal on Monday, when they drew with Burnley, but losses for Arsenal and United in midweek means they remain in a strong position to finish fourth.
If they can control possession of the game and find a way of getting Eden Hazard on the ball in dangerous situations, it’s likely to be another nervy 90 minutes at Old Trafford.
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