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Domestic duties loom for Europe's frequent fliers

Published: Friday 15 February 2013, 10.00CET
Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid CF and FC Internazionale Milano are among the sides needing to shift their focus straight back to the league after European engagements in midweek.

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Published: Friday 15 February 2013, 10.00CET

Domestic duties loom for Europe's frequent fliers

Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid CF and FC Internazionale Milano are among the sides needing to shift their focus straight back to the league after European engagements in midweek.

Germany: Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Frankfurt (Saturday 18.30)
Though smarting from a 4-1 home thrashing by Hamburger SV last weekend, Dortmund – as so often this season – produced their best form when it mattered on the European stage against FC Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday. The champions are still a distant second in the Bundesliga, however, and will have to take on Eintracht without suspended striker Robert Lewandowski.

They also face a side with nothing to lose. Armin Veh's promoted team sit fourth with European qualification a genuine ambition and no sign of any nerves ahead of the run-in. "We've already proved that the way we play is no fluke," said goalkeeper Kevin Trapp. "We want to turn it into our trademark. It's why this squad was brought together and the reason we're a stable side. I don't think we'll end up going on a bad run."

France: FC Girondins de Bordeaux v Olympique Lyonnais (Sunday 14.00)
The two teams meeting at the Stade Chaban-Delmas will put their European campaigns to one side as seventh hosts second in Ligue 1 – with seven points separating them. Having lost back-to-back league matches for the first time since November 2011, Lyon may feel they have more to fight for than most, with Paris Saint-Germain FC seemingly ready to go it alone at the top of the table. "We're still second but we'll have to do much better to stay in the top three," said coach Rémi Garde.

Francis Gillot, meanwhile, saw his Bordeaux outfit lose at AC Ajaccio last Saturday and hopes that right-back Mariano's return from an ankle injury will help prolong an unbeaten home run against Lyon stretching back five games to 7 October 2007.

Austria: SK Rapid Wien v FK Austria Wien (Sunday 16.00)
Spring football in Austria begins with the 304th Vienna derby. Bundesliga leaders Austria tackle third-placed Rapid at the Gerhard-Hanappi-Stadion and, with ten points between the teams, the Green and Whites require a win to keep alive any realistic title chance.

The division's top scorer, Austria striker Philip Hosiner, does not believe Rapid's poor record in the last seven derbies – three draws and four defeats – will have any effect this time. "Derbies don't follow the rules. It doesn't matter whether we're ten points ahead of Rapid or the other way around. Anything can happen," said the 23-year-old, who scored 16 goals in 14 appearances before Christmas.

Turkey: Trabzonspor AŞ v Fenerbahçe SK (Sunday 18.00)
Third-placed Fenerbahçe are eager to close on leaders Galatasaray AŞ, who are six points clear of their Istanbul rivals – though it remains to be seen if the Yellow Canaries' UEFA Europa League round of 32 match at FC BATE Borisov will compromise their energy levels.

Trabzonspor, in tenth, are hoping their Süper Lig fortunes will improve under new coach Tolunay Kafkas. "Being calm and determined is the key for these games," said the 44-year-old who last month succeeded Şenol Güneş. Trabzonspor will be without Ivory Coast midfielder Didier Zokora, whose place could be taken by Soner Aydoğdu. Fenerbahçe have no injury concerns.

Italy: ACF Fiorentina v FC Internazionale Milano (Sunday 20.45)
Having registered their second Serie A win of 2013 last week – 3-1 at home to AC Chievo Verona – fourth-ranked Inter face a stern test of their top-three credentials when they visit Florence. Mohamed Sissoko, who joined sixth-placed Fiorentina from Paris Saint-Germain FC in January, could make his debut for the Viola and inspire an upturn in form following a run of four defeats in six league outings.

"I'm not 100% at the moment because I played the Africa Cup of Nations, but I want to make my contribution," said the 28-year-old Mali midfielder. "Our objective is a place in the UEFA Champions League and we need to beat Inter. It's the only thing I'm thinking about at the moment."

Spain: Real Madrid CF v Rayo Vallecano de Madrid (Sunday 21.00)
Spurred on by last weekend's home victory against Club Atlético de Madrid, sixth-placed Rayo make the short trip to the Santiago Bernabéu looking to maintain momentum as they target European qualification. "After beating Atlético it's been a happy week around here but now it's time to think about Madrid – one of the best teams in the world," midfielder Roberto Trashorras said.

The hosts, third in the table, are undefeated in 34 home games across all competitions, but having emerged as the Liga's surprise package this season, Paco Jémez's side are undaunted. "We're certainly not considering this match as lost before it has begun," said Trashorras. "The feeling is that we can win but we must try to stick to our style of play."

Last updated: 04/12/13 6.49CET

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