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Dortmund primed to scratch nine-year itch

Published: Friday 22 April 2011, 9.04CET
Attention-grabbing derby games in Glasgow and Belgrade and a French League Cup final are among UEFA.com's weekend highlights, as Borussia Dortmund close in on the German title.

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Published: Friday 22 April 2011, 9.04CET

Dortmund primed to scratch nine-year itch

Attention-grabbing derby games in Glasgow and Belgrade and a French League Cup final are among UEFA.com's weekend highlights, as Borussia Dortmund close in on the German title.

Germany: VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund (Saturday, 18.30)
The nine-year wait may finally end for the Dortmund fans this weekend. The Bundesliga pacesetters will be crowned champions for the first time since 2001/02 with three matches to spare if results go their way. Dortmund initially need second-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen to slip up in the afternoon against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.

Should Leverkusen draw or lose, Jürgen Klopp's tyros will have the opportunity to take an unassailable lead by seeing off struggling Mönchengladbach in the evening. BVB midfielder Kevin Grosskreutz expects excitement levels to be sky-high but insists the players remain focused. "The fans were going crazy before, during and after the Freiburg match [last weekend]," he said. "But the scenes will be even crazier when the title is really ours."

Spain: Valencia CF v Real Madrid CF (Saturday, 18.00)
Valencia defender Marius Stankevičius has issued a rallying call to his team-mates ahead of Real Madrid's visit. Third in the standings, Unai Emery's team are 14 points adrift of second-placed Madrid and have little chance of catching José Mourinho's team. Yet Stankevičius, on loan from UC Sampdoria, believes Saturday represents a great chance to put more distance between themselves and Villarreal CF, who are six points further back in fourth.

"Our objective is to finish third, but if we can edge a little closer to Madrid then all the better," said the Lithuanian international. "We are an ambitious side and we'll try to beat them by playing with strength and determination." For Madrid, this will be their second match at Mestalla in the space of four days having beaten FC Barcelona there in Wednesday's Copa del Rey final.

France: Olympique de Marseille v Montpellier Hérault SC (Saturday, 20.45)
Marseille can complete the first leg of a domestic double when they take on Montpellier in the French League Cup final at the Stade de France. The Mediterranean outfit ended a 17-year trophy drought in Didier Deschamps' first season in charge when they won this competition a year ago before going on to clinch the league title. One point behind Ligue 1 pacesetters LOSC Lille Métropole, OM have a chance of emulating that achievement.

First, however, they must defeat a Montpellier side targeting a second domestic prize to go with the French Cup triumph of 1990. Although Marseille gained a psychological advantage by defeating Montpellier 2-1 in the league last weekend, Deschamps knows the final will be different. "There are no points at stake this time – just a trophy," he said.

Italy: FC Internazionale Milano v S.S. Lazio (Saturday, 15.00)
With the league crown seemingly slipping away, Inter are beginning to look nervously over their shoulders as several clubs close in. Fifth-placed Udinese Calcio sit just four points behind last season's UEFA Champions League winners, who are third but have seen their city rivals AC Milan open up an eight-point gap on them. Lazio could draw level on points with Leonardo's side should they triumph at San Siro, although the hosts' experienced midfielder Dejan Stanković is keeping positive.

"If we qualify for the UEFA Champions League and win another trophy then it would be a good season," said the former Lazio playmaker, who scored another fine goal in the Nerazzuri's 1-0 win against AS Roma in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg on Tuesday. "We're a great team but you can't win everything every season."

FK Partizan v FK Crvena zvezda (Saturday, 19.00)
The 140th Eternal Derby between Partizan and Crvena zvezda promises to be one of the most exciting of recent times as the Belgrade giants continue to act out a thrilling title race. Partizan coach Aleksandar Stanojević has been keen to play down reports describing Saturday's top-of-the-table game as a championship decider. "I don't believe that one game can be decisive for the title when there are still six to play," he said. "We have a favourable run-in."

The form guide suggests the visitors will start as favourites: they have won their last eight league matches, while Partizan recently suffered defeats by Crvena zvezda in the Serbian Cup semi-finals and third-placed FK Vojvodina in the league. "We've been in great form this spring," stressed Crvena zvezda coach Robert Prosinečki. "I believe the team that wins the derby will finish as champions and we're ready for that mission."

Rangers FC v Celtic FC (Sunday, 13.30)
Glasgow's big two go head-to-head for the seventh and final time this season in a match which could go a long way towards deciding the outcome of the Scottish Premier League title. Defending champions Rangers, who won 4-0 at Dundee United FC on Tuesday, are a point ahead of their city rivals. The Bhoys also triumphed on their travels in midweek by the same scoreline at Kilmarnock FC and, crucially, have a game in hand.

"It could be my last Old Firm game but I don't mean that as in I've decided I'm leaving Rangers in the summer," said Light Blues captain David Weir, who will be playing in his 22nd Old Firm derby on Easter Sunday. "I treat every game as if it's my last, not just Old Firm matches – and that's something which has stood me in good stead, so this one won't be any different."

All times CET

Last updated: 07/12/13 4.43CET

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