There are enormous games across the board in Europe this weekend, most pertinently in Spain and France where the title races look poised to go down to the wire.
In LaLiga, there are a couple of fixtures to savor featuring three teams involved in the fight for top spot, while in France the defending champions are under pressure to keep their crown. In Germany and England, the focus is on the race for European qualification.
All kick offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Wolfsburg
Saturday, April 10, 9:30 a.m. ET, ESPN+
Frankfurt and Wolfsburg have been the two biggest surprises is the Bundesliga this season, so it should be an intriguing encounter when they meet on Saturday.
Both sides are in a strong position to qualify for the Champions League, with Wolfsburg in third and four points clear of Frankfurt who are in fourth. The side in closest proximity to the top four is a toiling Borussia Dortmund outfit, who are seven points behind.
For Wolfsburg, a win here would surely be enough to guarantee elite European football again next term. After finishing seventh last season, they’ve pushed on again under the guidance of manager Oliver Glasner, boasting the joint-best defensive record in the division. If results go their way this weekend, they could find themselves in second place.
Frankfurt have also built on last season’s mid-table finish. While Wolfsburg have based their season on a strong defensive setup, Adi Hutter’s team are much more enterprising, with only Bayern scoring more goals than them in 2020-21. The front two of Andre Silva and Luka Jovic have proven too hot for many Bundesliga defenses to cope with.
Strasbourg vs. Paris Saint-Germain
While PSG are flying in the Champions League, domestically they’ve had big issues this season and they’ll be seeking to put that right against Strasbourg on Saturday.
PSG suffered a major blow in their pursuit of the title last weekend, when they were beaten by Lille. Not only did Lille move three points clear of the Parisians at the top with a win, Neymar was sent off for Mauricio Pochettino’s team and he will be subsequently banned for this encounter.
Even so, PSG showed what they are capable of in midweek, when they produced a brilliant counter-attacking performance to beat European champions Bayern Munich 3-2. Kylian Mbappe was once again the star of the show with two goals and he’ll be bristling with confidence for this important game.
Strasbourg have little to play for, as they’re sat in 13th and seven points clear of relegation trouble. It means there’s no excuse for PSG, who will have to react to Lille’s result at Metz on Friday night.
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona
Real Madrid and Barcelona have done brilliantly to claw themselves back into title contention in LaLiga. Saturday’s Clásico in the capital could provide a major springboard for one of them to reel Atletico in.
Barcelona are the form team in LaLiga going into this fixture, winning their last six matches and going 19 games without defeat in the top flight. After a challenging start to the campaign, manager Ronald Koeman has found a formula and they are just one point back on leaders Atletico going into this crucial round of fixtures.
The Catalans should be fresher for this match, as Real played Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday. Zinedine Zidane would have been encouraged by the way his team played though, turning in arguably their standout performance of the season in a 3-1 win; he will hope his experienced players are clicking into gear at the perfect time, as they have done so often before.
With nine games to go in the season, the result of this Clásico won’t necessarily be decisive in ruling a side of the title race. But after both sides have made up a lot ground on Atletico over such a long period, a defeat may prove to be difficult to recover from.
Tottenham vs. Manchester United
Sunday, April 11, 11:30 a.m. ET, Peacock Premium
The pressure is building on Tottenham Hotspur and Jose Mourinho, who welcome Manchester United to north London this weekend for what should be a tense fixture.
Spurs were well below their best last time out, as Newcastle grabbed a deserved 2-2 draw. Mourinho was noticeably agitated after the game, bemoaning his players’ struggles at seeing out matches by defending without organisation and aggression.
Nevertheless, they are well in the hunt for a top-four finish, with just three points separating them and West Ham United in fourth. With Harry Kane in form they are capable of scoring at any time too; the England captain’s brace at Newcastle took his goal tally to 19 for the Premier League season, to go with an impressive haul of 13 assists too.
United have been excellent away from home this term and are secure in second going into this round of fixtures. After their Europa League clash with Granada on Thursday, some changes may be needed to keep the team fresh for what should be a big test at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Real Betis vs. Atletico Madrid
There’s a sense of Atletico Madrid’s season unravelling at the moment and manager Diego Simeone will want his players to put things right at Real Betis on Sunday.
Atletico know that at least one of, if not both of, their title rivals will drop points in the Clasico on Saturday, so there is a chance to bolster their lead to some degree. However, every match seems to be a toil for the Madrid club at the moment, with the pressure of leading the way clearly biting.
That much was evident last weekend, when they suffered defeat to Sevilla. Not only did they perform poorly, yellow cards for Marcos Llorente and Luis Suarez—arguably Atletico’s two best players this season—mean that they will miss Sunday’s match due to suspension.
That will be a boost to Betis, who will hope to follow the example of their Andalusian rivals from a week ago. They are in sixth place going into the weekend’s matches, dead level on points with Real Sociedad in fifth and Villarreal in seventh, and in a full-blooded fight for a Europa League spot.
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