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Unlikely challengers looking to continue rise

Published: Friday 4 November 2011, 10.11CET
It is the turn of some of the lesser lights currently burning brightly to feature in our weekend preview as the likes of Levante UD and Montpellier Hérault SC look to keep the dream alive.

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Published: Friday 4 November 2011, 10.11CET

Unlikely challengers looking to continue rise

It is the turn of some of the lesser lights currently burning brightly to feature in our weekend preview as the likes of Levante UD and Montpellier Hérault SC look to keep the dream alive.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: FK Željezničar v FK Sarajevo (Saturday, 17.00)
The 98th eternal derby will be memorable for the Adilović family as Željezničar striker Eldin looks to get the better of his brother Adi, the Sarajevo goalkeeper. "This is the first time I'll play in this derby and obviously I want to win and score past my brother," said Eldin, the division's eight-goal top scorer. Adi added: "Even though my brother is an accomplished finisher, I won't fail to master him." Not only are the clubs locked together in second place in the Premier League, three points behind NK Široki Brijeg, they have each won 29 of their previous meetings, with 39 draws. Sarajevo do have the edge on goal difference, however: 117-114.

Spain: Levante UD v Valencia CF (Saturday, 22.00)
CA Osasuna may have ended Levante's seven-match winning run last weekend but the Frogs still have a 100% home record to defend as they take on city rivals Valencia. Juan Ignacio Martínez's side have been a revelation, defeating Real Madrid CF and experiencing life at the Spanish summit for the first time in their history, and are out to cause another shock against a Valencia side buoyed by an impressive midweek UEFA Champions League win against Bayer 04 Leverkusen. "We came through some tough moments last season before putting in an excellent second half to the campaign," said Levante defender Sergio Ballesteros. "That gave us extra motivation to do well this time around and with quality players arriving and settling quickly we feel we're more balanced this time around."

Scotland: Motherwell FC v Celtic FC (Sunday, 13.00)
Consistency of selection and results have been the key behind Motherwell's impressive start to the season with Stuart McCall and captain Keith Lasley picking up the October awards for manager and player of the month. McCall has yet to taste victory against either side of the Old Firm, but a win on Sunday would move the Steelmen six points clear of their Glasgow rivals in second place. "No one will expect us to beat Celtic and that's a good thing," said striker Jamie Murphy. "We haven't played well in every game but we've managed to dig out eight wins so far. The team spirit here is incredible and we're prepared to go that extra mile."

Poland: Zagłębie Lubin v WKS Śląsk Wroclaw (Sunday, 14.30)
Śląsk are continuing to reap the benefits of Orest Lenczyk's know-how. The most experienced coach in Poland (540 league games) has steered a side that was struggling 12 months ago to the top of the Ekstraklasa. Śląsk have a new home – the Municipal Stadium Wroclaw, one of four Polish venues for next summer's UEFA European Championship – that they inaugurated with a victory against KS Lechia Gdańsk last weekend, and confidence is high ahead of the derby. "We have plenty of good players and what's more, we like each other," said captain Sebastian Mila. "We also have a new home and we want to perform well so people say that we deserve to play in such a magnificent stadium." Zagłębie Lubin named former Czech international Pavel Hapal as their new coach on Monday.

AS Saint-Étienne v Montpellier Hérault SC (Sunday, 17.00)
Sandwiched between big-spending pacesetters Paris Saint-Germain FC and champions LOSC Lille Métropole are a Montpellier side boasting the best attack in the division – 27 goals in 12 games. "Every single player in the squad is hugely motivated," said coach René Girard. "Even those who aren't playing regularly are behind the project; this is the best thing for a coach." St-Etienne, in eighth, are desperate to make amends for successive League Cup and Ligue 1 losses to Olympique Lyonnais. "What we need now is a win to put that behind us," said Les Verts defender Loris Néry.

Ukraine: FC Metalist Kharkiv v FC Dynamo Kyiv (Sunday, 18.30)
The Ukrainian Premier League was intriguingly poised as it reached the halfway mark last weekend with the top three separated by just two points. Leaders Dynamo (37 points) and Metalist (35) are both unbeaten while second-placed FC Shakhtar Donetsk's only defeat was at the hands of the Kharkiv club a fortnight ago. Dynamo have not dropped points away to Metalist since a 2-2 draw in May 2008 but need to get back to winning ways domestically after following up a Ukrainian Cup loss to Shakhtar with a 0-0 draw at SC Tavriya Simferopol last weekend. "Our advantage over Shakhtar and Metalist is trivial, so we need to strengthen our lead by winning in Kharkiv," said midfielder Denys Garmash. "I think the slip in Simferopol will only add to our aggression and motivation."

All times are local

Last updated: 06/12/13 6.20CET

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