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Around the leagues

Published: Friday 4 December 2009, 16.15CET
The Derby d'Italia takes centre stage in Italy, Chelsea FC travel to Manchester City FC in England and the top two meet in Denmark as looks ahead to this weekend's leading domestic action.
Around the leagues
Inter and Juve go head-to-head in Turin on Saturday night ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 4 December 2009, 16.15CET

Around the leagues

The Derby d'Italia takes centre stage in Italy, Chelsea FC travel to Manchester City FC in England and the top two meet in Denmark as looks ahead to this weekend's leading domestic action.

The Derby d'Italia takes centre stage in Italy, where Juventus look to close the gap on leaders FC Internazionale Milano and there is pride at stake in Rome, as AS Roma and S.S. Lazio go head to head. Chelsea FC travel to Manchester City FC in England while the top two meet in Denmark in the final round of matches before the Superligaen's winter break as looks ahead to the best of the weekend action. Follow the scores from all the European leagues live on's MatchCentre.

Italy: Juventus vs FC Internazionale Milano (Saturday, 20.45)
Third-placed Juventus need a win in the Derby d'Italia to reduce the eight-point gap on the Serie A leaders and boost their own flagging title hopes while José Mourinho's side know victory in their rivals' back yard would see them take a big stride towards a fifth successive Scudetto. Juve defender Fabio Cannavaro is confident his side can slow Inter's progress. "After two defeats we can't say things are going well, but we have a good group and a good coach and we'll rise to the occasion," he said. The title may not be at stake in the Italian capital, but that won't make Sunday's derby between ninth-placed AS Roma and S.S. Lazio in 15th any less competitive. Roma captain Francesco Totti is in fine form and looked to ward off bad luck by predicting: "Lazio will win." The Biancocelesti hope to prove him right and redeem themselves after elimination from the UEFA Europa League on Wednesday.

England: Manchester City FC v Chelsea FC (Saturday 17.30)
The pressure lifted on Manchester City somewhat with Wednesday's League Cup win over Arsenal FC, but the real challenge remains the Premier League and Mark Hughes's expensively assembled side will be desperate to claim another 'big-four' scalp when leaders Chelsea arrive. After winning five of their opening six Premier League games City have drawn seven straight and slumped to seventh in the process, 14 points off the pace. Carlo Ancelotti's side in contrast are in formidable form, having won their past five top-flight matches, scoring 17 times and conceding none. Wednesday's League Cup defeat on penalties by Blackburn Rovers FC was a blip that the Italian coach is keen to put behind him. "This week our priority is the game against Arsenal [a 3-0 Chelsea win] and the game against Manchester City," he said.

Spain: RC Deportivo La Coruña v FC Barcelona (Saturday 22.00)
Deportivo full-back Luis Filipe has warned Josep Guardiola's league leaders they face a tough battle against a team who have lifted themselves into fifth place following three straight Liga wins. "Barça are a fantastic team but at the Riazor no side has a comfortable time of it and they certainly won't have it easy at all," the 24-year-old Brazilian insisted. "We're all enjoying being high up in the table and we want to stay there." On the prospect of facing Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi, Luis Filipe said: "I'm looking forward to a beautiful war with him."

Germany: Hamburger SV v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (Saturday 15.30)
Boosted by a midweek victory over SK Rapid Wien that took them through to the UEFA Europa League last 32, fifth-placed Hamburg go into Saturday's meeting with Hoffenheim, in sixth, looking to end a six-game winless run in the Bundesliga. Injuries have taken their toll on HSV's title challenge and goalkeeper Frank Rost called on his side to forget Wednesday's success, saying: "We have to start over again this weekend in the Bundesliga." Hoffenheim have won their past two away games, but have lost two straight at home and coach Ralf Rangnick believes a change of attitude is needed. "Winning the ball back seems to be an annoying obligation," he said.

France: OGC Nice v Olympique de Marseille (Sunday 19.00)
The 83rd Mediterranean league derby will be an opportunity for both teams to bounce back after narrow defeats last weekend. Marseille have prevailed 2-0 on their last two visits to the Stade du Ray, but will have their work cut out this time. Prior to losing at FC Sochaux-Montbéliard last Saturday, Nice had won their previous four games to go 12th. "It's a derby, which is always a colourful game," Nice coach Didier Ollé-Nicolle said. Marseille have won just one of their last four matches, dropping to eighth, six points off leaders FC Girondins de Bordeaux. They host Real Madrid CF in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday and midfielder Édouard Cissé hopes to go into that crucial tie on a high. "It will be a tough derby, but games like this are just about winning," he said.

Denmark: Odense BK v FC København (Sunday, 18.00)
With one game to go before the winter break, expectation is rising that this could be Odense's year as the Superligaen pacesetters look to stretch their lead at the top to seven points with victory over second-placed København. OB, who last won the league in 1989, were overtaken by the capital club last season, and central defender Anders Møller Christensen knows championships are not won in December. "We should not take things easy, just because we are four points ahead," the Danish international said. FCK have won their past two games and three more points at Fionia Park would give the table a very different look when play resumes in March.

All times local; England is one hour behind CET.

Last updated: 05/12/09 18.37CET

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