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Lyon and Hamburg hope for better

Published: Friday 9 March 2012, 11.00CET
Olympique Lyonnais and Hamburger SV are playing catch-up as finds three first-versus-second clashes and a derby in Split among this weekend's league fixtures.

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Published: Friday 9 March 2012, 11.00CET

Lyon and Hamburg hope for better

Olympique Lyonnais and Hamburger SV are playing catch-up as finds three first-versus-second clashes and a derby in Split among this weekend's league fixtures.

Croatia: HNK Hajduk Split v RNK Split (Saturday, 18.00)
Barely 500 metres divide these local rivals, but in terms of pedigree, Hajduk are light-years apart from Split, though they are currently second and fourth respectively in the Croatian league. "Split are a very solid team, they have many dangerous players, but I hope we will show who is the boss in the city," said Hajduk striker Anas Sharbini, who scored twice in the recent 4-2 win against NK Zagreb.

Tonči Bašić's side could only draw 1-1 against NK Lučko last time out, but – having made their continental debut in UEFA Europa League qualifying this season – Split are hungry for more. "We are not giving up," said Bašić. "We will give our best in the city derby and let's hope we can make it a great football match."

France: Olympique Lyonnais v LOSC Lille Métropole (Saturday, 21.00)
Turfed out of the UEFA Champions League by APOEL FC on Wednesday, Lyon have little time for navel-gazing as Ligue 1's seventh-ranked side take on third-placed Lille, with seven points separating them. If they are to make it to the group stage for the 13th time in a row next season, this repeat of the 11 January League Cup quarter- final – which Lyon won 2-1 – is a massive game for Lyon.

Lille have won just once in their last 16 games at the Stade Gerland, but are unbeaten in four matches, three of them on the road. "It's good that we have this key game," said Lyon coach Rémi Garde. "We won't think too much to our setback in Europe. We have to fight for third place in the league, and the players must be up for that."

Germany: FC Schalke 04 v Hamburger SV (Sunday, 17.30)
Hamburg's progress since Thorsten Fink took over as coach in October has not been as positive as they might have hoped, and a first ever relegation remains possible, with things tight at the foot of the Bundesliga. They visit Gelsenkirchen with Paolo Guerrero and David Jarolím suspended, but Fink said: "We've got nothing to lose. We're still very erratic, but consistency is something we need to work hard on over a long period of time."

Schalke were level on points with leaders Borussia Dortmund at the end of January but are now eleven points off the pace, and in danger of missing out on a UEFA Champions League place. "Our aims will not change," sporting director Horst Heldt said. "It's up to us to get out of this situation together."

Spain: Málaga CF v Levante UD (Saturday, 18.00)
Juan Ignacio Martínez's task of convincing the world that his Levante side's target this season is not to qualify for the UEFA Champions League is growing ever more difficult. Having won their last two games, the Frogs are back in fourth place, and once again drawing the attention of a nation who had expected to see sixth-placed Málaga comfortably leading the chasing pack by this stage of the campaign.

"Sometimes we forget we are Levante but I can assure you our objective is not the Champions League," Martínez said. "We want three points, and if after that we are still in fourth, it's neither here nor there. If we don't win any more games, we could still end up going down."

Austria: FC Salzburg v SK Rapid Wien (Saturday, 18.30)
Moldova: FC Dacia Chisinau v FC Sheriff (Saturday, 13.00)

Bosnia-Herzegovina: FK Željezničar v NK Široki Brijeg (Saturday, 14.00)

The weekend sees top-of-the-table clashes in three less prominent European leagues. Rapid lead Salzburg by three points at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga, with four more teams within three points of the side from Mozart's home city. In Moldova, Dacia ended Sheriff's ten-year monopoly of the title last season, and are just two points adrift of the leaders as they come to the capital. Sarajevo's Željezničar, meanwhile, are engaged in a dogfight with Široki Brijeg for the Bosnian crown, with only a point between them going into their latest encounter.

All times CET

Last updated: 05/12/13 9.23CET