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A reunion, a return to Rome and reluctant Ranieri

Published: Friday 24 January 2014, 8.22CET
Bernd Schuster goes back to FC Barcelona, Juventus make a quick return to Rome and Claudio Ranieri plays down Ligue 1 title talk. previews the weekend action.

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Published: Friday 24 January 2014, 8.22CET

A reunion, a return to Rome and reluctant Ranieri

Bernd Schuster goes back to FC Barcelona, Juventus make a quick return to Rome and Claudio Ranieri plays down Ligue 1 title talk. previews the weekend action.

Germany: Borussia Dortmund v FC Augsburg (Saturday 15.30)
Borussia Dortmund start 2014 against an Augsburg side who are unbeaten in five Bundesliga games and impressed with an industrious style and little fear in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Fourth-placed Dortmund, by contrast, have picked up only four points in their last six league matches.

"It's looking good for us after the winter training camp," said BVB coach Jürgen Klopp. "But we are so far off [leaders FC Bayern München] that we cannot be thinking about the championship right now." Augsburg, in eighth, travel to Dortmund with new loan signing Ji Dong-won, a player who will join BVB in the summer.

Turkey: Trabzonspor AŞ v Beşiktaş JK (Saturday 18.00)
This fixture takes centre stage on the first Süper Lig weekend after the winter break. Neither team lived up to expectations in the first half of the season – Beşiktaş are fourth, Trabzonspor seventh – but second spot at least remains a realistic goal. "Anything can happen but we're confident we can win at home," said Trabzonspor coach Mustafa Akçay. "Beşiktaş are dangerous but might not be as composed as they want at the back, so we will see if we can capitalise."

Italy: SS Lazio v Juventus (Saturday 20.45)
Juventus hopes of a domestic double vanished on Tuesday when the Serie A leaders were defeated 1-0 at AS Roma in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals. The Bianconeri return to the capital seeking to extend their 12-game league winning streak. "Once again Roma are proving our main rivals for the Scudetto," said Juve defender Andrea Barzagli. "Obviously we were disappointed with the loss but we go back to Rome for the three points."

Ninth-ranked Lazio, however, have taken seven points from three outings since Edoardo Reja replaced Vladimir Petković in the dugout. "We have a few tough matches in succession," the 68-year-old coach said. "But I'm optimistic because every player is working hard."

Belgium: RSC Anderlecht v Club Brugge KV (Sunday 18.00)
Together with SV Zulte Waregem, both these sides are seven points behind frontrunners R. Standard de Liège. Anderlecht, in second, slipped further off the pace last weekend, losing 2-1 at KV Mechelen, while third-placed Club Brugge could only draw 1-1 at struggling K. Lierse SK. Sunday's fixture will be particularly special for midfielder Vadis Odjidja, who made his senior debut with Anderlecht in 2007 and is now a Club Brugge player.

"A big match awaits us at one of my old clubs and I hope the whole team are motivated to put things right," he said. "We can make up for the points we threw away [last weekend]."

©AFP/Getty Images

Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri

France: AS Monaco FC v Olympique de Marseille (Sunday 21.00)
Following their midweek French Cup exit, Marseille have only Ligue 1 to concentrate on. The Mediterranean club's 5-4 loss to OGC Nice was the first time they had let in five goals at home since 1980, leaving OM midfielder Benoît Cheyrou desperate to make amends. "We have no choice but to bring something back from Monaco."

While Anigo – whose fifth-placed team sit 13 points shy of Monaco in second – will be without André Ayew (knee), Monaco have concerns over Falcao, also with a knee problem. Claudio Ranieri's side are within five points of leaders Paris Saint-Germain, yet the coach said: "I don't think we're mature enough to fight Paris, though we'll do our best."

Spain: FC Barcelona v Málaga CF (Sunday 21.00)
Málaga coach Bernd Schuster won domestic and European honours with Barcelona during eight seasons as a Camp Nou midfielder in the 1980s – registering 61 goals in 170 top-flight games. A return to Catalonia this weekend represents a different challenge for the German technician, with the 14th-ranked Boquerones bidding for their first victory of 2014 having claimed just one point in their last three outings.

"We have everything to gain and very little to lose," Málaga midfielder Fernando Tissone said of facing the Liga leaders. "It's a dream for any player to play against the best team in the world so we will be giving our all."

All times CET

Last updated: 24/01/14 19.50CET