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Derby matches dominate weekend intrigue

Published: Friday 22 October 2010, 13.22CET
Glasgow is the setting for a meeting of two invincibles, a torrid Istanbul derby is in store and the title can be won in Norway. looks ahead to the weekend's big games.
Derby matches dominate weekend intrigue
Whoever wins Sunday's Old Firm game will break a Scottish Premier League record ©Getty Images features

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Published: Friday 22 October 2010, 13.22CET

Derby matches dominate weekend intrigue

Glasgow is the setting for a meeting of two invincibles, a torrid Istanbul derby is in store and the title can be won in Norway. looks ahead to the weekend's big games.

Old Firm games rarely come with such anticipation as Sunday's, with Celtic FC and Rangers FC both looking to secure a record ninth successive Premier League win in Scotland. Istanbul's big two have been in less stunning form, but their meeting later the same day is sure to set pulses racing, while Manchester City FC will look to reinforce their English title pretensions at home against Arsenal FC. Keep up to date with all the weekend results and scorers in the MatchCentre.

Neither team will want to relinquish that 100% record
Celtic manager Neil Lennon

Scotland: Celtic FC v Rangers FC (Sunday, 12.45)
Something has to give on Sunday as Celtic FC and Rangers FC meet for the first Old Firm game of the season. Both clubs have won their first eight league fixtures, equalling the Scottish Premier League record for consecutive victories. Home advantage may make Celtic slight favourites to set a new mark but with up to eight players likely to taste the derby for the first time, manager Neil Lennon says it will not be easy. "Neither team will want to relinquish that 100% record," said Lennon, "but, it's just one game and I don't think it will have any bearing on which way the league is going to go. It will just give a psychological edge for a while."

Germany: Borussia Dortmund v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (Sunday, 15.30)
Dortmund's good form has been as much of a shock as Hoffenheim's in a German season not short of surprises. However, the combination of 1. FSV Mainz 05's fabulous seven-game winning start and FC Bayern München's inconsistency has kept both sides out of the headlines. With Dortmund having replaced Mainz at the top of the table, they will look to steal the limelight from fourth-placed Hoffenheim, who famously set the pace midway through the season two years ago before fading fast.

England: Manchester City FC v Arsenal FC (Sunday, 16.00)
City have secured home wins against Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC this season and are within two points of the titleholders. However, victory for Arsenal would take them ahead of Roberto Mancini's second-placed side and the Gunners have been boosted by Cesc Fàbregas's return from injury in Tuesday's 5-1 UEFA Champions League defeat of FC Shakhtar Donetsk. Tomáš Rosický admitted Arsenal need to take that form on to the domestic stage. "We cannot always say we are unlucky," he said. "It's time to prove we can win these games."

Turkey: Fenerbahçe SK v Galatasaray AŞ (Sunday, 19.00)
Galatasaray have not won at Fenerbahçe for 11 years, and are in flux with Gheorghe Hagi replacing Frank Rijkaard as coach in the run-up to Sunday's derby. Galatasaray, shorn of Arda Turan and Milan Baroš through injury, are ninth in the league, five places below their rivals. The Yellow Canaries' Uruguayan defender Diego Lugano knows how crucial these fixtures can be: "It's arguably the most important game of the season and we're thinking of nothing but three points. We're even more fired up than usual."

Norway: Rosenborg BK v Tromsø IL (Sunday, 20.00)
No one in Norway will be surprised if Rosenborg clinch their 22nd Norwegian title with a home win against Tromsø. Erik Hamrén left the Trondheim club to take over as Sweden coach in mid-season, but with stand-in boss Nils Arne Eggen excelling they remain unbeaten in 27 league games this year. Meanwhile, the Faroese title will be won on Saturday, with HB Tórshavn three points clear at the top going into the last round of fixtures.

FC Internazionale Milano v UC Sampdoria (Sunday, 20:45)
An injury to Dejan Stanković has been a blow to Rafael Benítez's European champions, but the Spaniard can take comfort from the return of Iván Córdoba and Goran Pandev in Wednesday's 4-3 win against Tottenham Hotspur FC. Inter seem to be adjusting to Benítez's system, but having watched his side leak three goals against ten-man Spurs – as many as they have conceded in the first seven Serie A games – Benítez was not best pleased. "You cannot finish a game like that," said the 50-year-old. "We must not make the same mistakes again."

Spain: Villarreal CF v Club Atlético de Madrid (Sunday, 21.00)
Despite scoring seven goals in nine appearances this season, Nilmar believes he and his team-mates need to be more clinical when second-placed Villarreal welcome Atlético on Sunday. "We could be talking about us being league leaders had we taken our chances in our last game [a draw against Hercules CF] but we're going well and we refuse to give up," the striker said. For their part, Los Rojiblancos – currently fifth – will be looking to improve on a record of just one win in nine league visits to El Madrigal.

All times local, England and Scotland are one hour behind CET; Turkey is one hour ahead.

Last updated: 04/01/11 9.01CET

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