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Old rivals take the stage in England and Germany

Published: Friday 19 August 2011, 10.12CET
This weekend brings top-of-the-table games in Slovakia and Poland, a meeting of neighbours in Switzerland and an encounter between the old establishment in Germany and England.
Old rivals take the stage in England and Germany
Sebastian Mila celebrates after scoring Śląsk's winner at Legia last season ©Cyfrasport

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Published: Friday 19 August 2011, 10.12CET

Old rivals take the stage in England and Germany

This weekend brings top-of-the-table games in Slovakia and Poland, a meeting of neighbours in Switzerland and an encounter between the old establishment in Germany and England.

England: Arsenal FC v Liverpool FC (Saturday: 13.45)
Both sides come into their second Premier League fixture off the back of opening-day draws. The Gunners were held 0-0 at Newcastle United FC, while the Reds, who shared a point with Sunderland AFC, will hope Luis Suárez can carry his good form into the weekend. For Arsenal, a win might appease supporters disappointed at seeing three players depart this week – Cesc Fàbregas, Emmanuel Eboué and Carlos Vela – although Arsène Wenger will also be without Gervinho and Alex Song (both suspended) and Jack Wilshere (ankle). Theo Walcott's midweek winner against Udinese Calcio has at least given the Gunners a UEFA Champions League play-off boost.

Germany: FC Bayern München v Hamburger SV (Saturday, 15.30)
Luiz Gustavo's 91st-minute winner at VfL Wolfsburg last weekend got Bayern off the mark this season and Jupp Heynckes' side continued to banish memories of a first-day defeat by VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach with a 2-0 UEFA Champions League play-off victory over FC Zürich. Striker Mario Gomez vowed: "We have to win, we want to win and we will win." Hamburg are still seeking that victorious feeling after Hertha BSC Berlin's Andre Mijatović denied them three points with a late equaliser last Saturday, leaving HSV on a point in the Bundesliga.

Switzerland: BSC Young Boys v FC Thun (Sunday, 16.00)
Thun are two points clear of Young Boys at the top of the Super League, and will bid to extend their unbeaten run this term to six top-flight matches when they host their local rivals. Under new coach Bernard Challandes, Thun have maintained continuity in their playing staff and been boosted by the opening of a new 10,000-capacity stadium. Young Boys, with Christian Gross in charge, are chasing a first championship since 1986. Both sides were involved in UEFA Europa League play-off fixtures on Thursday, Thun losing 1-0 at home to Stoke City FC and Young Boys drawing 0-0 at last season's runners-up, SC Braga.

Poland: Legia Warszawa v WKS Śląsk Wroclaw (Sunday, 17.00)
Unbeaten Legia host 2010/11 runners-up, Śląsk, eager to avoid a repeat of last season's result in this fixture – a 2-1 defeat. After his late winner in Śląsk's 1-0 victory against Ruch Chorzów last Friday, lifting the side joint-top of the embryonic First Division table, Argentinian striker Cristián Diaz told UEFA.com that this weekend represents a "fantastic opportunity" to continue his scoring form. However, his side had a difficult UEFA Europa League play-off fixture against FC Rapid Bucureşti on Thursday – a 3-1 home defeat – while Legia drew 2-2 with FC Spartak Moskva.

Slovakia: ŠK Slovan Bratislava v FC ViOn Zlaté Moravce (Sunday, 19.30)
Zlaté Moravce will look to reclaim top spot at champions and leaders Slovan after suffering their first league defeat of the campaign last weekend. Juraj Jarábek, whose side won their first three matches, believes his team have what it takes to lift a first Superliga title, adding that they "have no fear". Vladimír Weiss's Slovan are in ominous form, however. They sit two points clear of Zlaté Moravce having won four of their first five league matches and a surprise 1-0 defeat of AS Roma in the UEFA Europa League play-offs will not have harmed their confidence.

Malta: Valletta FC v Tarxien Rainbows FC (Sunday, 20.30)
Valletta are again expected to make the title running this season having added Michael Mifsud to an already formidable squad and the Malta captain duly inspired them to Super Cup success on Tuesday, scoring a hat-trick against Floriana FC. "It's important to reach the top, but it's more important to stay up there," Malta's footballer of the year and Valletta midfielder Roderick Briffa told UEFA.com. It will be a tough opening-day encounter for Tarxien but they are an improving side having finished fifth after the top six play-off stage last term.

All times CET.

Last updated: 19/08/11 22.41CET

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