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Marseille and Bayern playing catch-up

Published: Friday 1 October 2010, 16.28CET
Titleholders Olympique de Marseille and FC Bayern München look to regain momentum in France and Germany while's weekend guide finds drama in Liege and Nicosia.
Marseille and Bayern playing catch-up
St-Etienne have Marseille's Lucho González and André-Pierre Gignac in their sights ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 1 October 2010, 16.28CET

Marseille and Bayern playing catch-up

Titleholders Olympique de Marseille and FC Bayern München look to regain momentum in France and Germany while's weekend guide finds drama in Liege and Nicosia.

Big games in Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Ukraine are the highlights of another packed instalment of domestic action across the continent. Follow the scores throughout the weekend from every European league live on's MatchCentre.

France: AS Saint-Etienne v Olympique de Marseille (Saturday, 21.00)
Surprise Ligue 1 leaders St-Etienne are due a heroes' welcome after getting the better of regional rivals Olympique Lyonnais for the first time in 17 years last weekend, yet face another formidable test in the shape of champions Olympique de Marseille. Didier Deschamps' charges are unbeaten in five league games, but Les Verts will hope seven-goal forward Dimitri Payet can inflict more damage. Defender Sylvain Marchal is keeping expectations in check, however. "We've had a good start but there's no reason to get carried away; we've only played seven games," he said. "OM are a great team so it has all the ingredients of a big game."

Cyprus: APOEL FC v AC Omonia (Sunday, 18.00)
The Cypriot season is four games old yet the stakes could not be higher for this big Nicosia derby. APOEL and Omonia matches capture the island's imagination like no other, and with the sides tied on a record 20 First Division titles each, neither will want to give ground – especially as both clubs dropped points in their last fixtures and are still reeling from UEFA Europa League play-off exits. "We need to be focused, calm and collected, but at the same time passionate about the game," said APOEL spokesman Panikos Hadjiliasis, whose team lie fifth, two points behind leaders Omonia. "You cannot predict derbies; they are like no other games and league positions don't matter."

Germany: Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern München (Sunday, 17.30)
Dortmund's run of nine straight wins was ended on Thursday by Sevilla FC, but the UEFA Europa League contenders may still feel they have the edge on a Bayern side with just two Bundesliga victories out of six this season. Even if two UEFA Champions League wins may have boosted the German champions' morale, the road back to the top of the league looks an arduous one. "We have to win and win again to revive our Bundesliga campaign," explained Bayern president Uli Hoeness. "Otherwise it will be difficult to recoup before Christmas all the points we've dropped." Coach Louis van Gaal is optimistic, however, not least because Bayern triumphed 5-1 at Dortmund last term. "It is not easy to win there, but we managed it," he said.

Belgium: R. Standard de Liège v RSC Anderlecht (Sunday, 18.00)
Les Rouges and Les Mauves reconvene for Sunday's Belgian classic, with Anderlecht having claimed their 30th championship last season to end Standard's two-year spell at the top. Having taken just five points from their first four matches, Standard brought in attacking reinforcements Mbaye Leye, Aloys Nong and Mohamed Tchité, and picked up 12 points in their next five outings to go fourth, four points and two places behind Anderlecht. With games against leaders KRC Genk, KAA Gent and Club Brugge KV to follow the Anderlecht tie, the pressure is still on Les Rouges. Standard captain Steven Defour said: "Within a month we will know if we are fighting for first or sixth place. We have had our ups and downs, but we will have no problem finding motivation against Anderlecht."

Portugal: SL Benfica v SC Braga (Sunday, 21.15)
After midweek defeats in the UEFA Champions League, Benfica and Braga will try to salve their wounds when they meet at the Estádio da Luz. Champions Benfica sit fifth in the Liga, while 2009/10 runners-up Braga are third, with FC Porto already seven points clear at the top. "The Braga match will be difficult but whoever plays will certainly give a good response," said Benfica coach Jorge Jesus after his side's 2-0 loss at FC Schalke 04. Braga forward Alan added: "Both teams know each other well and we know what we have to do to bring a result back from Lisbon."

Ukraine: FC Shakhtar Donetsk v FC Dynamo Kyiv (Sunday, 19.00)
The title rivals approach the big match with very different emotions. Shakhtar made it two wins out of two in the UEFA Champions League at Braga on Tuesday, before Dynamo unexpectedly lost 2-0 at FC Sheriff of Moldova in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, prompting the resignation of coach Valeri Gazzaev. Two points separate the sides in the Ukrainian Premier League as Shakhtar attempt to fend off managerless Dynamo at the summit. Both have injury concerns and the extra two days' rest could work to Shakhtar's advantage.

Italy: FC Internazionale Milano v Juventus (Sunday, 20.45)
Beaten 1-0 at AS Roma last weekend, treble winners Inter must regain their composure for the 'Derby d'Italia' against struggling Juventus if they are to target a sixth successive Scudetto. "We have to change our mindset as soon as possible and think about Juventus," winger Coutinho told after Wednesday's 4-0 UEFA Champions League victory over SV Werder Bremen. "We have two days to prepare for the game and have to make the most of them." Goalkeeper Júlio César and centre-back Lucio left the field with knocks against Bremen and are doubts for Sunday along with captain Javier Zanetti and striker Diego Milito. Rafael Benítez can count, however, on a sparkling Samuel Eto'o after his midweek hat-trick.

All times local; Ukraine and Cyprus are one hour ahead of CET.

Last updated: 01/10/10 16.03CET