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Dutch and Scottish summits take centre stage

Published: Friday 23 March 2012, 10.01CET
It could be a big weekend at the concertinaed Eredivisie summit, while Celtic FC can win the title in Scotland and the fight for fourth continues in England. previews the action.

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Published: Friday 23 March 2012, 10.01CET

Dutch and Scottish summits take centre stage

It could be a big weekend at the concertinaed Eredivisie summit, while Celtic FC can win the title in Scotland and the fight for fourth continues in England. previews the action.

Netherlands: AFC Ajax v PSV Eindhoven (Sunday, 16.30)
With only eight games to go, the Eredivisie's top six are separated by a meagre five points. AZ Alkmaar lead the way but second-placed Ajax and fourth-placed PSV are just one and two points adrift respectively. Phillip Cocu's appointment as coach in place of the sacked Fred Rutten has prompted an upturn in fortunes for PSV, 5-1 and 3-1 in victors in their last two fixtures. Ajax, however, have racked up six straight league triumphs. "The title is possible; we just have to look at it match by match," said coach Frank de Boer, without the suspended Theo Janssen on Sunday.

Scotland: Rangers FC v Celtic FC (Sunday, 14.00)
Not since 1967 have Celtic clinched the Scottish title at their home of their rivals. However, should Motherwell FC – currently third, level on points with Rangers – not beat Kilmarnock FC on Saturday, Neil Lennon's side, 21 points ahead at the summit, could wrap up the championship the following day. "It's always the same when it comes to Celtic-Rangers games, you always want to win," said Lennon. "Form goes out the window, so I'm very wary. It's going to be a full house and there's so much riding on it, predominantly pride more than anything."

Germany: FC Bayern München v Hannover 96 (Saturday, 15.30)
Hannover had a vested interest in both this week's German Cup semi-finals ahead of their league visit to Bayern. On Tuesday, they celebrated Borussia Dortmund's progress to the showpiece, meaning Mirko Slomka's side will play European football next season should they stay in the Bundesliga's top seven. On Wednesday, they watched Bayern beat VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach on penalties, a rare struggle in a period of scintillating form for Bayern. "How Bayern are playing at home, it's more than difficult taking points there," said Jan Schlaudraff. "All we can and do is deliver our best."

Czech Republic: SK Slavia Praha v AC Sparta Praha (Saturday, 15.50)
Czech First League leaders Sparta are firm favourites against a Slavia side in tenth spot and 25 points off the pace. František Straka resigned as Slavia coach earlier this month, with Martin Poustka placed in interim charge until the end of the season. Poustka's team have drawn 0-0 four times in five league games since resuming action after the winter break. "We would like to end the goal drought, and why not do it against Sparta," said Poustka. Sparta, though, have won five successive derbies, scoring nine and conceding only once in the process.

France: OGC Nice v Olympique de Marseille (Saturday, 19.00)
Having lost five league games in a row for the first time since 1979, Marseille have taken just two points from their last seven fixtures. They play a Nice team experiencing tough times themselves, however, having last weekend lost 2-0 to FC Sochaux-Montbéliard, now level on points with them in the relegation zone. "We're ninth and not playing well," said OM coach Didier Deschamps. "This is the reality, even though we did experience something magnificent in Champions League." André Ayew is struggling with a shoulder injury ahead of the trip to the French Riviera.

All times CET

Last updated: 05/12/13 9.18CET

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