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Around the leagues

Published: Friday 27 November 2009, 23.59CET
There are big derbies in Liverpool, Lisbon, Genoa and Belgrade to look forward to while AJ Auxerre search for their eighth successive win as previews the weekend's top fixtures in Europe.
Around the leagues
Old rivals meet again: Everton's Tim Cahill and Liverpool's Jamie Carragher ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 27 November 2009, 23.59CET

Around the leagues

There are big derbies in Liverpool, Lisbon, Genoa and Belgrade to look forward to while AJ Auxerre search for their eighth successive win as previews the weekend's top fixtures in Europe.

There are big derbies in Liverpool, Lisbon, Genoa and Belgrade to look forward to this weekend while AJ Auxerre search for their eighth successive win as surveys the forthcoming weekend action. We also have a look ahead to El Clásico meeting between FC Barcelona and Madrid in Spain (click here for a preview) and you can also read our assessment of another top-two clash, between Panathinaikos FC and Olympiacos FC in Greece. Follow the scores throughout the weekend from all the European leagues live on's MatchCentre.

England: Everton v Liverpool FC (Sunday, 13.30)
The term make-or-break may apply to Sunday's 207th Merseyside derby. For all their rivalry, the clubs have more in common than they would admit. Where last term Everton and Liverpool finished fifth and second, their injury-blighted squads now perform below expectation. Liverpool exited the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, though victory at Debreceni VSC halted a run of one win and six defeats in ten. Everton achieved that sequence by losing at Hull City AFC. If David Moyes and Rafael Benítez are under pressure, so too are their boards, not least Everton's after a new stadium plan was rejected. For one side, a guest appearance by Happy Days actor Henry Winkler (aka The Fonz) may be the only bright spot.

Italy: Genoa CFC v UC Sampdoria (Saturday, 20.45)
A win for Genoa in the Derby della Lanterna would bring them within one point of their city rivals, fourth-placed Sampdoria. "It's the most beautiful derby in Italy due to its songs, colours and fans, but also for the respect between the supporters," Genoa coach Gian Piero Gasperini told "You can even see maybe a husband and a wife going to the stadium wearing the two different shirts." Gasperini has goalkeeper Marco Amelia back from injury but is without the suspended Giandomenico Mesto, while Blucerchiati coach Luigi Del Neri will field Antonio Cassano despite his fractured finger. The game will also see tributes paid to Giuseppe Baldini, who died aged 87 on Wednesday night having played for both clubs and scored the first goal in a Genoa derby.

Portugal: Sporting Clube de Portugal v SL Benfica (Saturday, 21.15)
Following their Portuguese Cup elimination at the hands of Vitória SC last weekend, joint league leaders Benfica go into the Lisbon derby looking to bounce back against a Sporting side languishing in eighth spot. The hosts' new coach Carlos Carvalhal started his reign with a 4-1 cup win against third-tier GD Pescadores da Costa de Caparica, but faces a baptism of fire in the Liga with the team without a win in five top-flight games and missing key defender Tonel through suspension. Meanwhile, Benfica's prolific striker Óscar Cardozo returns after a ban of his own, although captain Nuno Gomes warned: "It's the derby, a match full of emotion and Sporting could make their home advantage tell." Sporting skipper João Moutinho called the game "the ideal match to start our recovery".

Werder Bremen v VfL Wolfsburg (Saturday, 15.30)
An intriguing contest awaits as Bremen welcome the champions having overcome a slow start to the season to emerge as a genuine threat in the Bundesliga. The second-placed hosts have been beaten just once in 21 competitive matches and it will be interesting to see how visitors Wolfsburg react to their midweek UEFA Champions League setback, where they squandered a lead to lose 2-1 at PFC CSKA Moskva when a draw was all they needed to advance. Bremen may have lost playmaker Diego to Juventus, but a midfield trio of Mesut Özil, Aaron Hunt and Marko Marin has helped them rack up a league-leading 29 goals. "We are on the right track and getting the results as well," said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf. "It is great to watch what the team has to offer."

France: AJ Auxerre v Paris Saint-Germain FC (Saturday, 19.00)
For the first time since 2001, Auxerre are looking down on the rest in France after registering their seventh consecutive Ligue 1 win last week against AS Monaco FC. In the past, over his 30 years at the club, legendary former coach Guy Roux would always say: "Well, we are just aiming to secure our top-flight status." However, his successor Jean Fernandez is slightly more ambitious, certainly in public, and said: "We're want a top ten finish." The home side will be without in-form, key striker Ireneusz Jeleń, who has a hamstring problem, but will be favourites against PSG, winners just once in eight league outings.

Serbia: FK Crvena Zvezda v FK Partizan (Saturday, 13.00)
Home side Crvena Zvezda come into the 137th Večiti Derbi (Eternal Derby) on the back of their best ever start to a league season, winning eleven of their 12 games with one draw. However, champions Partizan are just four points adrift and excitement is growing ahead of a contest that has plenty riding on it, in stark contrast to many recent encounters where one of the clubs were already well clear in the Superliga standings. Home coach Vladimir Petrović is no mood to play it down either, saying: "It will be a great match. We will play our game in our way and I am optimistic about winning."

All times local; England and Portugal are one hour behind CET.

Last updated: 28/11/09 16.36CET

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