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The weekend starts here

Published: Friday 19 March 2010, 11.43CET
A Dutch summit meeting and high-octane games in England, Greece and Russia are among the highlights as UEFA.com scours the weekend schedule for Europe's top fixtures.
The weekend starts here
Liverpool celebrate success against Manchester United back in October ©Getty Images

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Published: Friday 19 March 2010, 11.43CET

The weekend starts here

A Dutch summit meeting and high-octane games in England, Greece and Russia are among the highlights as UEFA.com scours the weekend schedule for Europe's top fixtures.

UEFA.com brings you a potted guide to the weekend's best domestic fixtures across Europe. You can follow the scores from all the European leagues live on UEFA.com's MatchCentre.

Netherlands: PSV Eindhoven v FC Twente (Saturday, 19.45)
Back-to-back defeats against NAC Breda and AFC Ajax have seen PSV slip to five points behind Twente at the top of the Dutch table. However, Twente coach Steve McClaren knows that, with seven games remaining, the show is far from over. "The best time to be at the top of the table is at the end of the competition," he said wryly. "The next match against PSV is crucial. We still have a difficult series of matches, but we are one of the three teams who are candidates for the title." The clubs' last five Eredivisie meetings have ended in draws, but PSV will hope they can have a repeat of the last conclusive game between them, which they won 2-0 in Eindhoven on 14 April 2007.

Italy: US Città di Palermo v FC Internazionale Milano (Saturday, 20.45)
After reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in four years with a 1-0 win at Chelsea FC, Inter head to Sicily for the second time in less than ten days to take on Palermo, having lost 3-1 at Calcio Catania last week. The Nerazzurri have won only two of their last seven Serie A games and city rivals AC Milan are now just one point behind them. Palermo also lost their last league fixture but remain fourth and in clear contention for a UEFA Champions League place. "We don't fear Inter," said Palermo's Denmark defender Simon Kjær. "They are a great team and they proved that against Chelsea, but they are humans like us and we can beat them like Catania did last week."

England: Manchester United FC v Liverpool FC (Sunday, 13.30)
The title they so crave may be beyond Liverpool but motivation aplenty remains for Rafael Benítez's embattled side. "We were not doing well at the beginning of the season," said Benítez. "We lost a bit of confidence because we could not be [title] contenders. But you cannot change what has happened, so you have to try to do your best until the end of the season." United have won the Premier League 11 times since their Merseyside rivals last won the First Division and the two English powerhouses now sit level on 18 top-flight championships apiece. Liverpool know that were they to inflict defeat on Sir Alex Ferguson's side, the 68-year-old's hopes of an unprecedented fourth straight Premier League crown would be severely dented.

Russia: FC Zenit St. Petersburg v FC Spartak Moskva (Sunday, 14.00)
While the game between PFC CSKA Moskva and Spartak is widely considered to be the biggest derby in Russian football, the intensity of the rivalry between the Moscow titans and Zenit, from the 'other' Russian capital, is not to be underestimated. New Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti secured a 1-0 win at FC Krylya Sovetov Samara in his first game in charge, but nothing would endear him to home fans than getting a win against Valeri Karpin's Spartak, who lost 1-0 to FC Dinamo Moskva in their opening 2010 league fixture. "Spartak are one of the main favourites for the title," said Zenit defender Fernando Meira. "They are very strong and the match will be very tough."

Germany: Hamburger SV v FC Schalke 04 (Sunday, 15.30)
A 4-2 defeat by Bayer 04 Leverkusen last week may have marked the end of Hamburg's UEFA Champions League hopes for next season, but all is not yet lost for Schalke, with a first German title since 1958 still not entirely off the menu for the Gelsenkirchen club. With Hamburg having openly said that their priority for the remainder of the season is the UEFA Europa League, Schalke will look to profit. "I am very positive about our chances to get a result in Hamburg," said coach Felix Magath. "They have to attack if they want to stay in touch with the top sides in the league. We are up against three top teams in quick succession in Hamburg, Leverkusen and Bayern. After those matches you will be able to work out where we will finish. Right now, we are sticking to the plan and taking it game by game."

France: FC Girondins de Bordeaux v LOSC Lille Métropole (Sunday, 17.00)
Barely recovered from dramatic games in midweek, Bordeaux and Lille's attention will shift to Ligue 1 on Sunday, with the visitors looking to continue their fine run at the Stade Chaban-Delmas, where they are unbeaten since 3 December 2005. Rudi Garcia's men go into the weekend two points adrift of the champions, who have a game in hand. However, the title race is getting tight, with Laurent Blanc hoping the pressure will not tell on his side. "We have three key games to decide our season," he said after eliminating Olympiacos FC from the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. "Olympiacos, Lille and the League Cup final [against Olympique de Marseille] on 27 March. I want my players to show their European mindset on the domestic scene."

Greece: Panathinaikos FC v Olympiacos FC (Sunday, 19.00)
An Athens derby four games before the end of the season would usually be a title decider, but with Panathinaikos seven points clear of third-placed Olympiacos at the top of the table, and seemingly roaring to their first title since 2004, the situation is less tense than usual. Greens' coach Nikos Nioplias was eager to maintain calm ahead of the match – a 61,000 sell-out – explaining: "We are the favourites to win the league, but it's not over yet. We need to focus and be very careful in the last matches." Olympiacos were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in midweek, but have taken courage from their 2-1 loss at Bordeaux, with full-back Vassilis Torosidis saying: "If we perform in the remaining league matches as we did against Bordeaux, we will win them all. And there's no better place to start than the derby against Panathinaikos."

All times local. England is one hour behind CET, Greece is one hour ahead. St Petersburg is two hours ahead.

Last updated: 20/03/10 9.55CET

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