By NICK IUELE
Barcelona and Real Madrid face off in La Liga play for the first time this season on Sunday in the latest installment of 'El Clasico'.
The last time the two clubs squared off, Madrid got the best of Barca in the Spanish Super Cup. Barcelona is undefeated this season, but have looked a bit vulnerable in their last two matches. Madrid has been gaining momentum and beginning a climb up the table.
In Italy, Inter and AC Milan square off at the San Siro for one of the biggest derby matches in Europe. Milan has had a rough start to the Serie A season so far, but are hoping a Champions League win over Zenit St. Petersburg during the week will give them some momentum. Inter are currently sitting in third place and a win could help them keep pace with Juventus and Napoli at the top.
Liverpool takes on Geoff Cameron and Stoke City on Sunday, looking to build on their first English Premier League win against Norwich last weekend. The Reds suffered a mid-week loss to Udinese in Europa League, but hope start an ascent up the league table.
Here is a look at this weekend’s action in all of Europe's top leagues:
Manchester United will face another stiff challenge in Newcastle after dropping their fixture to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend. Magpies’ strike Demba Ba leads the league in goals with six, one more than Man U’s Robin van Persie. United can potentially move into the second position in the table with a win, while Newcastle has eyes on climbing the table.
Swansea City will try to regain form against EPL new boys Reading. The Swans opened the season red hot, but have dropped three league matches in a row and have not won since August 25. Reading, who is in the relegation zone and has not won this term, will provide Swansea with a good opportunity to get back on track.
Here are the weekend’s English Premier League matches:
Manchester City v Sunderland
Chelsea v Norwich City
Swansea City v Reading
West Bromwich Albion v Queens Park Rangers
Wigan Athletic v Everton
Southampton v Fulham
Liverpool v Stoke City
Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa
Newcastle United v Manchester United
Table-toppers Napoli play an Udinese side beginning to regain form on Sunday. A win for Napoli will ensure that they, at the very least, keep pace for the first position with Juventus. Udinese is hoping a mid-week Europa League win will set them right.
Torino will attempt to barge themselves into the Europe conversation against lowly Cagliari. A 5-1 winner over Atalanta last week, Torino has not lost in their last three matches and only has one loss this campaign. A three-point effort could move them up a couple spots in the table.
Here are the weekend’s Serie A matches:
Chievo Verona v Sampdoria
Genoa v Palermo
AS Roma v Atalanta
Fiorentina v Bologna
Siena v Juventus
Torino v Cagliari
US Pescara v Lazio
AC Milan v Inter Milan
Napoli v Udinese
Atletico Madrid and Malaga do battle in a matchup of second and third place clubs. Neither side has lost a match this season in La Liga play. Atletico’s Falcao has been the toast of the league so far this term, while upstart Malaga has enjoyed great form in the early goings of the season. This match will feature an offensive force in Falcao against a Malaga defense that has only allowed two goals this season.
Mallorca can keep themselves in position for European competition with a positive result against Granada. The club is currently in fifth position in the table and has only lost once. Granada gave Barca a run for their money, but Mallorca should win this match and keep pressure on the top four.
Here are the weekend’s La Liga matches:
Celta Vigo v Sevilla FC
Rayo Vallecano v Deportivo La Coruna
Valladolid v Espanyol
Real Zaragoza v Getafe
Real Betis v Real Sociedad
Levante v Valencia
Mallorca v Granada
Athletic Bilbao v Osasuna
Barcelona v Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v Malaga
Undefeated Bayern Munich will put their 100% record on the line against Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim. Despite having three losses, Hoffenheim is still on the outside looking in at a Europa League position . Bayern has looked nearly unbeatable so far this term and this match should prove no different.
Borussia Dortmund take on Hannover in a matchup of top five clubs. Hannover hit a bit of a snag with a loss to Hamburg last weekend, while Dortmund has only fallen once this season and is five points back of second place Frankfurt. The German title holders fought to a draw with Manchester City in UCL during the week.
Here are the weekend’s Bundesliga matches:
FC Augsburg v Werder Bremen
Bayern Munich v TSG Hoffenheim
Mainz v Fortuna Dusseldorf
SC Freiburg v Nurnberg
Schalke 04 v VfL Wolfsburg
SpVgg Greuther Furth v Hamburg SV
Borussia Monchengladbach v Eintracht Frankfurt
Hannover 96 v Borussia Dortmund
VfB Stuttgart v Bayer Leverkusen
Ligue 1 top-two clubs Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain clash on Sunday. Marseille was handed their first league loss of the season against Valenciennes last weekend, while PSG has yet to lose a match. The Paris club has been in good form of late and is starting to roll. PSG could very well take all three points and knot things up atop the table.
Lyon will look to bounce back against Lorient after dropping their first match of the season last weekend. The two clubs are currently third and fourth in table, respectively. Lyon trails second place PSG by only one point.
Here are the weekend’s Ligue 1 matches:
St. Etienne v AS Nancy Lorraine
Montpellier v Evian Thonon Gaillard
Bastia v Troyes
Lille v AC Ajaccio
Sochaux v Stade Rennes
Stade de Reims v Nice
Toulouse v Valenciennes
Brest v Bordeaux
Lorient v Lyon
Marseille v Paris St-Germain