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Capital contests dominate weekend programme

Published: Friday 19 April 2013, 12.30CET's weekend preview spotlights derbies in Lisbon, Moscow and Vienna, plus the scramble for UEFA Champions League qualifying places in England, Italy and Spain.

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Published: Friday 19 April 2013, 12.30CET

Capital contests dominate weekend programme's weekend preview spotlights derbies in Lisbon, Moscow and Vienna, plus the scramble for UEFA Champions League qualifying places in England, Italy and Spain.

Spain: Valencia CF v Málaga CF (Saturday 22.00)
With a trip to Real Sociedad de Fútbol, in fourth, to follow next weekend, sixth-placed Valencia welcome a Málaga CF side who sit level on points with the Mestalla club but above them on goal difference. Valencia striker Roberto Soldado realises his team are entering a crucial phase as they target a UEFA Champions League qualifying berth.

"Unfortunately [finishing in the top four] is not in our hands, but we must look to win all our remaining games," said the Spain forward. "The Málaga match is so important for us and we want to win it, because if we don't then La Real [four points ahead] will start to get away from us. The form they are in, it's hard to see them slipping up."

Russia: PFC CSKA Moskva v FC Spartak Moskva (Sunday 13.00)
Spartak will have had the luxury of a week's rest come kick-off in the capital derby, Premier-Liga frontrunners CSKA having dispatched FC Yenisey 3-0 on Wednesday in the Russian Cup quarter-finals. Vágner Love, suspended for CSKA's 0-0 draw at FC Dinamo Moskva last time out, will return to lead the line, although Seydou Doumbia (thigh) is a doubt. Fourth-placed Spartak have their own problems, though: defender Nicolas Pareja, midfielders José Manuel Jurado, Jano Ananidze and Romulo, and striker Emmanuel Emenike are all sidelined. The Red and Whites, plagued by inconsistency this term, will hold onto fourth position with five matches remaining if they better FC Rubin Kazan's result against FC Amkar Perm.

Austria: FK Austria Wien v SK Rapid Wien (Sunday 16.00)
Pacesetters Austria, without a victory in three league games, hope to return to winning ways in the 305th meeting between the clubs and so edge closer to a first Bundesliga title since 2006. Rapid, however, are going through something of a crisis. Though they registered their first success of 2013 last weekend, 2-0 against SC Wiener Neustadt, the third-ranked Green-Whites followed this by losing 1-0 at home to third-tier FC Pasching in the Austrian Cup quarter-finals. The result cost coach Peter Schöttel his job. His replacement Zoran Barisić said: "We start with a bang and we are looking forward to the challenge." The statistics do not bode well for Rapid, though: they have not beaten the Violets in eight attempts.

England: Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC (Sunday 17.00)
Firmly ensconced in the Premier League's top four following a 3-0 west London derby win at Fulham FC on Wednesday, third-placed Chelsea travel to Anfield for what will be their second of three away games in eight days. After taking on Liverpool, in seventh, the Blues journey to FC Basel 1893 next week for their UEFA Europa League semi-final opener – and before the season is out face Manchester United FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC and Everton FC.

"We've got a very hard run-in. We're away to Liverpool at the weekend, which is always a very tough place to go, but this could maybe give us a bit of momentum in the league especially," said captain John Terry, who doubled his tally of league goals this term to four with a double against Fulham.

Italy: Juventus v AC Milan (Sunday 20.45)
Eleven points clear of SSC Napoli with six games remaining, Juventus aim to take another step towards retaining the Scudetto when they host third-placed Milan. "I hope we can reach the finish line in three or four weeks," said captain Gianluigi Buffon. "It would be a great achievement, the right award for spending most of the season at the top of the table, and a great sign of consistency after last season's success."

Milan lie four points behind Napoli in the battle to qualify directly for the UEFA Champions League group stage, yet are also looking over their shoulder at ACF Fiorentina, who entertain Torino FC this weekend. "The race for second place is still wide open," said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Portugal: SL Benfica v Sporting Clube de Portugal (Sunday 21.15)
While leaders Benfica require a victory in the 158th Liga derby between the Lisbon rivals to, at the very least, consolidate their four-point advantage over FC Porto, seventh-placed Sporting must win to aid their UEFA Europa League qualification chances. When the sides met at the Estádio José Alvalade in December, a hat-trick from Óscar Cardozo ensured the Eagles triumphed 3-1. "I don't know if this is the best Sporting [team] but they have good players," said Benfica coach Jorge Jesus. "It will be difficult but we are prepared." Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patrício declared: "We are Sporting and we are going to Estádio da Luz to win."

Last updated: 04/12/13 5.55CET