Germany’s heavyweights go head to head while Juventus face Lazio and Paris Saint-Germain look to get back to winning ways without Neymar and probably Kylian Mbappe too.
AFP Sport previews the standout action on the continent this weekend:
– Haaland v Lewandowski –
Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich, Saturday 1730 GMT
It is the biggest game in Germany, but the latest meeting of Dortmund and Bayern will be played behind closed doors and, anyway, it has not been much of a rivalry in recent years.
Bayern have won the Bundesliga eight years running, although Dortmund have finished runners-up five times in that period, including in the last two campaigns.
Bayern have also won 10 of their last 14 Bundesliga meetings since winning their 2013 Champions League final showdown. They also triumphed 3-2 when the sides clashed in the German Super Cup recently.Â
This time, though, the teams are level atop the Bundesliga and Dortmund are in fine form, with Erling Braut Haaland on 10 goals for the season.Â
Yet the hottest striker in Europe is Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, and Hansi Flick’s team have won 32 of their last 33 matches.
– Lazio a thorn in Juve’s side? –
Lazio v Juventus, Sunday 11:30 GMT
Lazio were a thorn in Juventus’s side last season and will be hoping to get one over the reigning champions on Sunday.
Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus are a work in progress even if they remain unbeaten in Serie A and are two points above Lazio. Juve also won in the Champions League in midweek at Ferencvaros while Lazio drew at Zenit Saint-Petersburg.
However this fixture last season was won by Simone Inzaghi’s team, who beat Juve 3-1 at home and won 3-1 again in the Italian Super Cup a few weeks later.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace did give Juve a 2-1 victory in their last encounter in July, but the good news for Lazio before this clash is that they are gradually recovering the players who have missed recent games due to coronavirus tests.
Lazio hope the prolific Ciro Immobile could be among those returning. He was forced to miss the Zenit draw, with Italian media saying that was linked to a positive Covid-19 test the previous week.Â
– Atalanta, Inter to bounce back? –
Atalanta v Inter Milan, Sunday 14:00 GMT
The teams who finished third and second respectively in Serie A last season are struggling to live up to their pre-season billing.
Atalanta are fourth having lost two of their first six games, while Antonio Conte’s Inter are sixth. Â Â Â
Both teams are also finding the going tough in the Champions League, with Atalanta being demolished 5-0 by Liverpool in midweek as Inter lost 3-2 to Real Madrid to drop to the bottom of their group.
Who will bounce back here?
– Madrid face crisis-ridden Valencia –
Valencia v Real Madrid, Sunday 19:00 GMT
Real Madrid have emerged from a recent dip to win their last two games, scoring seven goals in the process against Huesca and Inter, including Sergio Ramos’s 100th for the club.
In La Liga, while Barcelona toil, Real are a point behind leaders Real Sociedad with a game in hand.
A trip to Mestalla to play Valencia is usually one of the biggest tests for a title challenger, and Madrid have won on just one of their last six visits.
However, Valencia are in crisis, struggling on the pitch and having just seen midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia flee for Atletico Madrid, joining a long list of key players to have departed in recent months which also includes Ferran Torres and Rodrigo Moreno.
– PSG without Neymar, Mbappe –
Paris Saint-Germain v Rennes, Saturday 20:00 GMT
Paris Saint-Germain need to get back on track after losing to RB Leipzig in the Champions League, and they will be favourites to make it eight straight Ligue 1 wins by beating Rennes.
However, PSG are without a host of key players due to injury, chief among them both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, and Rennes — currently third in France — have done well against the capital side in recent years, winning more times (3) than any other visitor to the Parc des Princes in the last decade.Â