In European football’s major leagues, we’re at or beyond the two-thirds-point. It means ambitions are being zeroed in on and each match, especially between positional rivals, takes on that extra little bit of significance.
This weekend there are a lot of them. Manchester and Madrid will be focused on derby matches, while in Germany the two most prestigious teams in the country meet; elsewhere, there’s a clash between two surprise title contenders in France and a key contest in the Champions League fight in the Premier League.
All kick offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund
While the latest Klassiker doesn’t have title implications for both teams, Bayern Munich taking on Borussia Dortmund remains the most captivating game in Germany.
Bayern remain on track for yet another title, although RB Leipzig have been able to chop down the gap in recent weeks. Leipzig are a couple of points back on the leaders and could find themselves top of the pile if they can get a win over Freiburg earlier in the day.
Even so, Bayern are unlikely to be fazed by a challenge. While they haven’t been as consistent as they were last term, there’s a sense that when the big games do come around they produce their best. They have an excellent record in this fixture too, winning seven of the last eight Bundesliga meetings between the teams.
Dortmund may be underdogs here, but they need to find some consistency if they are going to finish in a Champions League berth. They are in fifth, three points behind Frankfurt in fourth spot; in the last couple of weeks they’ve started to look a little more like themselves, with four wins in a row in their last four competitions.
Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid
It’s a huge weekend in the La Liga title race, with Atletico Madrid hosting Real Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Leaders Atletico have an advantage going into the clash, with a five-point lead over Real and Barcelona and a game less played. Going eight points clear of Los Blancos on Sunday would surely give Zinedine Zidane’s team too much work to do in defence of their crown.
Real will be kicking themselves for slipping up on Monday ahead of this game. Eventually, they were able to muster a point against Real Sociedad, with Vinicius Jr.’s late equalizer making it 1-1 on the night; while they bossed possession in the game, there’s still a lack of fluency about Zidane’s team.
After a wobble in recent weeks, Atletico produced an impressive performance to get back on track last weekend, winning 2-0 at Villarreal. A victory for Diego Simeone’s side in the derby would feel like a massive step towards their first Spanish top-flight title since 2014.
Manchester City vs. Manchester United
Manchester City will be out to continue their incredible winning run at the expense of their local rivals Manchester United on Sunday.
With their 4-1 success against Wolves on Wednesday, Pep Guardiola’s team made it 21 games won in a row in all competitions. It’s a streak that’s taken them into a 14-point point lead at the top of the table over the Red Devils and a victory on Sunday would be the gloss on an incredible spell for the Etihad Stadium outfit.
United shouldn’t be taken lightly though. While they’ve been frustrating in recent games—back-to-back 0-0 draws with Chelsea and Crystal Palace have dragged them back into the top-four battle—away from home they’re still incredibly hard to beat, having not lost on the road at all this season.
Still, this current City side provide a challenge that no other team can in the Premier League and it’d be a big surprise if they failed to extend their remarkable sequence further on Sunday.
Chelsea vs. Everton
Chelsea and Everton both picked up massive wins on Thursday, setting up this clash at Stamford Bridge perfectly.
The Blues currently occupy fourth spot in the table, although Everton are only a point behind their opponents with a game in hand. It’s a contest that also promises to be an intriguing tactical battle between Toffees manager Carlo Ancelotti and Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel.
Chelsea do seem to be purring under their new coach, producing a brilliant performance to beat Liverpool at Anfield 1-0. While their primary ambition will be to finish in the top four in the Premier League, the manner in which they’re playing means they should be looking towards Manchester United and Leicester.
Everton shouldn’t be discounted in their push for the Champions League either, as they have a canny manager in Ancelotti and a red-hot forward in Richarlison. They’ve also been excellent on the road this season, with no team in the division boasting more away wins.
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