Real Madrid CF are desperate to put Monday's mauling by FC Barcelona behind them while Chelsea FC and FC Schalke 04 are also in need of a lift as we preview the weekend action across Europe.
Spain: Real Madrid CF v Valencia CF (Saturday, 22.00)
Valencia winger Joaquín believes it "wouldn't be such a surprise" were the Liga's fifth-placed side to achieve victory over shell-shocked Madrid this weekend. Unai Emery's team have triumphed twice in their last five trips to the Santiago Bernabéu and their five-match unbeaten streak in all competitions means their confidence should be higher than their hosts'. "We came pretty close to beating [FC] Barcelona a while back so let's see if we can put in a similar performance," said Joaquín, though he did add that the visitors should be "wary" of the response of a Madrid outfit hammered 5-0 by Barcelona. "We have to recover and get back to winning ways," said Merengues defender Sergio Ramos.
FC Schalke 04 v FC Bayern München (Saturday, 18.30)
A meeting between heavyweights Bayern and Schalke will always turn heads even if they have been underperforming domestically. Schalke, in particular, looked shaky when losing 5-0 at 1. FC Kaiserslautern last weekend, yet Philipp Lahm is expecting a backlash. "It's always a difficult task to play at Schalke," the Bayern defender said. "Teams having problems are the most dangerous opponents." Schalke coach Felix Magath concurred: "Bayern like to play football and attack. This suits us better than a battling side."
England: Chelsea FC v Everton FC (Saturday, 16.00)
Chelsea should have captain John Terry back from a nerve problem in his leg as the Londoners seek to end a disappointing run of form. Carlo Ancelotti's men have taken just one point from three Premier League games in Terry's absence, falling two points behind leaders Manchester United FC. Michael Essien is also available after a ban but Frank Lampard remains missing against an Everton team needing a lift themselves after five games without a win. Everton have recorded four successive Premier League draws at Stamford Bridge, though, and are boosted by Marouane Fellaini's return from suspension.
France: Montpellier Hérault SC v Olympique Lyonnais (Saturday, 21.00)
Lyon have climbed back towards the top of Ligue 1 on the back of an eight-match unbeaten sequence and hope to continue that rise against a Montpellier side sitting two places and one point above them. Those who think the southern club are punching above their weight will point to last weekend's 4-0 loss to Olympique de Marseille to back up their argument, but coach René Girard insists nothing should be read into that result. "The loss to Marseille was a shame," he said. "There is no way things will continue like that."
Netherlands: PSV Eindhoven v Heracles Almelo (Saturday, 19.45)
PSV prevailed on Italian soil for the first time on Wednesday when beating UC Sampdoria to reach the UEFA Europa League's last 32 and they will hope that provides a springboard for a positive result against Heracles. A 4-2 loss for Fred Rutten's team at NAC Breda last weekend allowed FC Twente to join them at the Eredivisie summit, with AFC Ajax only three points behind, and the PSV coach warned: "After a victory like this against Sampdoria we have to pick it up again against Heracles, as we certainly must avoid any further damage." Heracles' defence may face an awkward evening – PSV have scored 45 goals in 16 league outings.
Italy: SSC Napoli v US Città di Palermo (Monday, 20.45)
After keeping alive Napoli's hopes of UEFA Europa League progress with a hat-trick at FC Utrecht on Thursday, striker Edinson Cavani is ready for another emotional night when the Partenopei host his former side Palermo. "It will be a special game for me but also for the team because we have to bounce back from defeat against Udinese," said the 23-year-old Uruguayan international, who has scored 15 times for Napoli – nine in Serie A – since joining from the Sicilian club in July. Napoli are fourth in Serie A on 24 points with Palermo on 23. Second face fifth when S.S. Lazio host FC Internazionale Milano on Friday.
Portugal: FC Porto v Vitória FC (Monday, 20.45)
André Villas-Boas's fairy-tale campaign continues, with the 33-year-old coach still undefeated in all competitions since arriving Porto in the summer. The Estádio do Dragão outfit, already qualified for the UEFA Europa League knockout stage as Group L winners, have recorded 19 victories in 22 matches this term and lead the Portuguese Liga with an eight-point advantage over champions SL Benfica. One of the keys to their impressive run has been the defence, with a meagre five league goals conceded, against 28 scored. Given that Vitória's last win against Porto dates back to 1989, Villas-Boas should improve on his dream start at the expense of the 13th-placed Setubal team.
All times CET
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