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Record runs on the line this weekend

Published: Friday 26 October 2012, 8.57CET
Record winning runs are on the line in Ukraine and Germany, the top two face off in England and the Norwegian title race hots up. looks at the best of the weekend's action.

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Published: Friday 26 October 2012, 8.57CET

Record runs on the line this weekend

Record winning runs are on the line in Ukraine and Germany, the top two face off in England and the Norwegian title race hots up. looks at the best of the weekend's action.

Ukraine: SC Tavriya Simferopol v FC Shakhtar Donetsk (Saturday 15.30)
"We are really on fire now," said Shakhtar forward Henrik Mkhitaryan, summing up the mood of a side who have won their first 12 Premier-Liha games this season to eclipse FC Dynamo Kyiv's 1997/98 record – his own 14 goals contributing greatly to the run. The Pitmen visit Simferopol having lived a charmed life on recent trips to the city – they beat Tavriya with stoppage-time goals three times in 2011 – which augurs well as they look to extend two other national records: they are on a 21-match league winning streak, and have scored in their last 31 games. The 2-1 midweek triumph against Chelsea FC has further raised the profile of Mircea Lucescu's team, although Armenian international Mkhitaryan added: "It's always hard to switch from the Champions League to the national stage, but the coach doesn't let us relax. Every victory inspires us to new achievements."

Slovakia: MŠK Žilina v ŠK Slovan Bratislava (Saturday 17.30)
"It's not just the results that make me happy, it's the performances," enthused Slovan coach Samuel Slovák recently. "They just get better and better." Since the 37-year-old replaced Vladimír Weiss after the third match of the campaign, Slovák's Slovan have shot to the top of the table, losing only one of their ten First League outings. Most recently, they beat MFK Ružomberok 2-0 in Wednesday's Slovak Cup quarter-final first leg. Despite this winning form, however, they could still cede pole position to the club that relieved them of the title last term, with Žilina unbeaten in six. It was a 1-1 draw with Frans Adelaar's side that cost Weiss his job at the end of July, and now former CD Tenerife and 1. FC Nürnberg midfielder Slovák – who made close to 200 league appearances for Slovan – has a great opportunity to show what he and his team are made of.

England: Chelsea FC v Manchester United FC (Sunday 17.00)
The Red Devils visit leaders Chelsea seeking their first Stamford Bridge win in the Premier League since April 2002, and bidding to become the first club to vanquish the Blues in the top flight this term. The pace-setting duo are also the division's two most prolific teams, and with both defences conceding twice in their respective UEFA Champions League ties this week, goals could flow in west London. Certainly, the two managers will hope their charges learn from midweek mistakes. Against SC Braga, Sir Alex Ferguson's men fell behind for the eighth time in 12 matches this season, while Shakhtar's quick counterattacks troubled Roberto Di Matteo's charges. "United will play like Shakhtar," warned Chelsea keeper Petr Čech. "We didn't deal with it well; hopefully it will serve as a lesson. But United have been leaking goals too. It could be entertaining."

Germany: FC Bayern München v Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Sunday 17.30)
Bayern cannot win the Bundesliga every year, of course, but when it eludes their grasp for two campaigns in a row, Germany's most successful club tend not to be impressed. A pre-season investment of around €70m in new talent was dedicated to securing their 23rd crown, and Jupp Heynckes' side have scythed through their opponents so far, with eight wins in their first eight games putting them five points clear at the summit prior to hosting Leverkusen. "If it is up to us, that run will continue for a while," said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm, though Heynckes warned: "For that to happen, we cannot cease to be focused and vigilant." Bastian Schweinsteiger added: "We have learned that defending starts up front. That is the difference compared to last season."

Norway: Molde FK v Rosenborg BK (Sunday 19.00)
Things could hardly be tighter at the top of the Norwegian Eliteserie. With four matches to play, Rosenborg lead title holders Molde on goal difference alone, while Strømsgodset IF are just three points further back. Experts say this weekend's game in Molde will decide the championship battle, though Rosenborg coach Jan Jönsson is putting equal importance on his side's following fixture, away to Strømsgodset. "I am feeling good before these matches," he commented. "Some say we are disadvantaged by playing away, but we don't fear any of the other teams."

France: Olympique de Marseille v Olympique Lyonnais (Sunday 21.00)
OM surrendered top spot in Ligue 1 to Paris Saint-Germain FC last weekend, losing for just the second time this term, 1-0 at ES Troyes Aube Champagne. They also lost leading scorer André-Pierre Gignac in that match – the forward cracking a bone in his foot – and now head into the much-heralded 'Battle of the Olympiques' on the back of a 2-0 defeat by VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach in the UEFA Europa League. In contrast, Lyon overcame Athletic Club 2-1 on Thursday and can jump ahead of Marseille with victory at the Stade Vélodrome. "We took a blow on the head but we have to prepare ourselves quickly for the Lyon game," said OM midfielder Benoît Cheyrou, ahead of a fixture which has witnessed only three goalless draws in 60 years.

All times CET

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