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Bayern and Barça focus on the summit

Published: Friday 12 February 2010, 11.52CET previews the league action across Europe as FC Bayern München try to end a weekend on top for the first time in nearly two years and depleted FC Barcelona visit Club Atlético de Madrid.
Bayern and Barça focus on the summit 
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Published: Friday 12 February 2010, 11.52CET

Bayern and Barça focus on the summit previews the league action across Europe as FC Bayern München try to end a weekend on top for the first time in nearly two years and depleted FC Barcelona visit Club Atlético de Madrid.

FC Bayern München have not ended a Bundesliga matchweek top of the table since the last day of the 2007/08 season, but can put that right on a weekend when FC Barcelona visit Club Atlético de Madrid without a number of key players. You can follow the scores from all the European leagues live on's MatchCentre.

Germany: FC Bayern München v BV Borussia Dortmund
(Saturday, 18.30)

It is more than 21 months since Bayern last topped the Bundesliga after a full set of fixtures. Last weekend was a particularly good one for the Bavarians as they moved level on points with leaders Bayer 04 Leverkusen after winning 3-1 at VfL Wolfsburg, their eighth league victory in a row. While Bayern have upped their game in recent weeks, fifth-placed Dortmund have followed six straight wins with back-to-back defeats. Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp, yet to record a Bundesliga victory in nine meetings with Bayern, said: "We will need an outstanding performance to get a result there. If we give it 100%, we can deny them their joy of playing football."

Spain: Club Atlético de Madrid v FC Barcelona
(Sunday, 21.00)

Xavi Hernández is confident Barcelona's squad is big enough to cope without injured trio Dmytro Chygrynskiy, Daniel Alves and Eric Abidal as well as the suspended Rafael Márquez and Gerard Piqué for the Liga leaders' visit to mid-table Atlético. "We've got enough people to cover the losses and Pep [Guardiola] is more than capable of putting a competitive side together," said the midfield player. Victory for the Blaugrana will mean they maintain at least a five-point cushion over rivals Real Madrid CF, who visit Xerez CD on Saturday. "We know [the Vicente Calderón] is a difficult place to play and Atlético are a great team, especially going forward, but we're going there to win," Xavi added.

France: AS Monaco FC v Olympique de Marseille
(Saturday, 19.00)

OM coach Didier Deschamps returns to the club he guided to the UEFA Champions League final five years ago in a Ligue 1 game which pits sixth against fifth. Marseille, level on points with their opponents, have won their last three league trips to Monaco but will be without in-form Brandão, who suffered a groin injury in Wednesday night's 3-1 French Cup defeat at RC Lens. Monaco, by contrast, knocked out FC Girondins de Bordeaux 2-0, responding well after AS Saint-Etienne had ended their nine-game unbeaten run at the weekend. "After [the loss at] St-Etienne we regrouped well," Monaco coach Guy Lacombe said. "We're now strong challengers again. My players have to understand that it will be key on Saturday."

Italy: SSC Napoli v FC Internazionale Milano
(Sunday, 20.45)

Like Monaco, Napoli also had a long run without defeat ended last weekend, a 15-match streak halted by struggling Udinese Calcio. The surprise 3-1 loss was Napoli's first in Serie A since the appointment of coach Walter Mazzarri in October. He will now hope his fourth-placed team can play the role of victorious underdogs when they welcome José Mourinho's 'corazzata' (army), as the leaders are currently nicknamed in Italy. "There's a huge gap between Inter and all the other teams, we have to give more than our best," said Napoli defender Hugo Campagnaro. Mazzarri, who will be without the suspended Christian Maggio but could have Ezequiel Lavezzi back from a hamstring injury, added: "It will be like a final."

Belgium: KAA Gent v Club Brugge KV
(Sunday, 20.30)

League-leading RSC Anderlecht's 2-1 home loss to K. Sint-Truidense VV has given hope to their nearest challengers, Gent and Club Brugge, but neither are having a good 2010. Gent are yet to win a league game this year, and a fortnight ago lost 2-0 at home to SV Zulte Waregem. However, Gent did knock Club Brugge out of the Belgian Cup last month, winning 4-1 away and 1-0 at home. Club Brugge were held 1-1 at Zulte Waregem last week, a result which nonetheless allowed them to move to within eight points of Anderlecht, with Gent a further five behind. That gap is less daunting than it seems because after the last regular season games on 14 March, the top six will play off for the title and European places with their points tallies at that juncture halved.

All times are CET.

Last updated: 12/02/10 17.38CET

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