With winter breaks on the horizon for many European leagues, a hardy band of 12 clubs are still clinging on to unbeaten records, as UEFA.com surveys the invincible stars of the autumn of 2010. Follow all the teams' scores throughout the weekend live with UEFA.com's MatchCentre.
England: Manchester United FC v Blackburn Rovers FC (Saturday, 16.00)
Unbeaten they may be, but United have hardly been turning heads in a campaign that has so far been characterised by struggles to win away from home and the absence of Wayne Rooney. But while their title rivals have blown hot and cold, the Red Devils' steady lukewarm has served them well, with seven wins and seven draws leaving them level on points with league leaders Chelsea FC. Captain Rio Ferdinand said: "
We're unbeaten his season, which says a lot for us. It shows we're tough to beat, but we've got to turn those draws we've been getting into wins."
Slovenia: NK Maribor v ND Triglav (Saturday, 18.00)
Maribor have already broken new ground; in the 20 years Slovenia has been independent, no side had gone 18 games unbeaten into the season until Darko Milanič's men hit that mark. They drew their last two league games, but are still six points clear of the chasing pack and firmly on target for a ninth title, having last reigned supreme in 2008/09. "We are on the track, although in recent weeks we have been a little inefficient," said former Yugoslavia and Slovenia defender Milanič. "We dropped two points against Domžale last week in the final seconds, which was a reminder that we need to concentrate until the final whistle."
Romania: FC Dinamo Bucureşti v FC Timişoara (Saturday, 20.45)
Timişoara player-coach Cosmin Contra has carried on where his predecessor Vladimir Petrović left off, with the side he inherited eight games into the season still unbeaten. Half of their 16 games have ended in draws and they are still a point shy of the league summit, even though they beat leaders FC Oţelul Galaţi 2-0 last weekend. However, they can expect a tough game at third-placed Dinamo, the Romanian league's 38-goal top scorers and the last side to finish a Liga 1 season unbeaten, in 1991/92. Visiting captain Dan Alexa remains hungry in his side's quest for a first league title, saying: "We want to finish this year without defeat. Football has rewarded us because we put everything into our games."
Portugal: Sporting Clube de Portugal v FC Porto (Saturday, 22.15)
Sporting will look to do what no other side has managed this season – beat Porto. André Villas-Boas's charges have not lost in 20 games; the Portuguese Super Cup then 11 in the Liga, six in the UEFA Europa League and two in the Portuguese Cup. Fourth-placed Sporting are 13 points adrift of Porto, who should field one-time Lions favourite João Moutinho. The clubs' 76 meetings to date have seen Sporting win 42 to Porto's 19, but the visitors are the league's top scorers and have already beaten defending champions SL Benfica. José Mourinho's one-time assistant Villas-Boas, meanwhile, knows how to get the right kind of siege mentality going, telling his side "there is a price on Porto's head because everyone wants to beat us".
Bulgaria: PFC Kaliakra Kavarna v PFC Litex Lovech (Sunday, 17.00)
The final round of the autumn season sees reigning champions Litex and PSFC Chernomorets Burgas aiming for a significant Bulgarian first; never before have two sides from outside Sofia gone in at the winter break unbeaten. Luboslav Penev, who replaced Angel Chervenkov as Litex coach in September, said "it is good to see the reward for our hard work" as his side top the standings, with ten wins and four draws from 14 games. Chernomorets's seven wins and seven draws have left them third, with the Sharks, led by Bulgaria great Krassimir Balakov, defending their unblemished run at PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv 1936 on Monday.
Denmark: Randers FC v FC København (Sunday, 16.00)
With 14 wins in 17 Superliga games, FCK have already blown away all previous Danish records when it comes to their points total at this stage of the season; they are already 16 ahead of second-placed Odense BK in the table. Coach Ståle Solbakken has said more than once "I do not think much about the fact we are undefeated", but there is little doubt his side will not go down easily. Randers, however, have caused FCK more problems than most this season; Solbakken's Copenhagen Lions beat them 1-0 at home but the visitors carved out more goalscoring chances.
Spain: FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF (Monday, 21.00)
Barcelona take on José Mourinho's unvanquished Madrid, who have won ten and drawn two from their first dozen Liga games. The Portuguese coach said recently: "
We're playing well and building something which I believe is very important: a great empathy with our fans. Our stadium is full and the supporters are right behind the players who in turn thrive on that passion. Sometimes these things are more important that the results." Come back on Monday for more on the game.
Honourable mentions: Bangor City FC were unable extend their stunning start in the Welsh league to 14 straight wins on Friday night, but only because their game at Airbus UK Broughton FC was postponed due to a frozen pitch. Three of Europe's smallest leagues still boast unbeaten leaders; UE Sant Julià in Andorra, Valletta FC in Malta and S.S. Cosmos in San Marino, though none of those sides have played ten league games yet. Kudos also to Norwegian champions Rosenborg BK who went unbeaten through the whole 30-game season, having only lost once in their 2009 success.
All kick-off times CET.
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