The official website for European football

Premier League showdown and Klassiker top bill

Published: Friday 11 April 2014, 11.10CET
Derbies in Prague and Seville whet the appetite for a potential English title fight while Germany's top two do battle in Der Klassiker. picks the best of the weekend action.

rate galleryrate photo
  • loading... features

European football mourns Football Federation of Kosovo president Fadil Vokrri
  • European football mourns Football Federation of Kosovo president Fadil Vokrri
  • High hopes for Europe - UEFA Direct 178 out now
  • 2018/19 UEFA club competitions revenue distribution system
  • Promoting positive European values – Aleksander Čeferin
  • UEFA and the Council of Europe sign Memorandum of Understanding
  • #EqualGame campaign lights up finals week in Kyiv
  • 'Football opens hearts'
  • Istanbul to host 2020 UEFA Champions League Final
  • UEFA Social Responsibility report highlights achievements
  • 'Limitless potential' for women's football
1 of 10
Published: Friday 11 April 2014, 11.10CET

Premier League showdown and Klassiker top bill

Derbies in Prague and Seville whet the appetite for a potential English title fight while Germany's top two do battle in Der Klassiker. picks the best of the weekend action.

Czech Republic: AC Sparta Praha v SK Slavia Praha (Saturday 15.00)
Leaders Sparta are still unbeaten and have won all 11 First League home games this term, putting them eight points clear of second-placed FC Viktoria Plzeň – and 38 above third-bottom Slavia, who are uncomfortably close to the relegation zone. Sparta coach Vítězslav Lavička, however, does not feel that the 281st Prague derby will be easier than usual. "We respect our traditional rivals – this is still the biggest match for us. We want to confirm our current form and position, and win."

Slavia have not won away since August, and their Dutch coach Alex Pastoor knows the odds are against his men. "Sparta are currently the best team in the country," he told "But we are going to fight hard for a result, like we do in every match."

Germany: FC Bayern München v Borussia Dortmund (Saturday 18.30)
Having experienced contrasting fortunes in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, the Bundesliga's top two must regroup before squaring off domestically. With Josep Guardiola's side already anointed champions, the Spaniard has the luxury of being able to shuffle his pack – and could start some of his more illustrious names on the bench after they booked a European semi-final slot. "The coach decides and it doesn't really matter which players miss out," said winger Arjen Robben. "It's important we keep our momentum."

For Dortmund, now out of Europe despite a rousing second-leg success over Real Madrid CF, only pride is left to play for in the league. They can at least raise spirits against their biggest rivals by avenging Bayern's 3-0 victory at the BVB Stadion in November.

Spain: Real Betis Balompié v Sevilla FC (Sunday 12.00)
Three weeks on from the spectacular 'EuroDerbi' between these city rivals, Betis and Sevilla meet again at the scene of the hosts' UEFA Europa League round of 16 penalties defeat by Unai Emery's resurgent team. Their Liga survival prospects appearing bleak – Betis lie bottom, nine points from safety – the Verdiblancos are nonetheless keen to dampen their fifth-placed visitors' hopes of getting a UEFA Champions League berth. "We are out for revenge and want to remove the thorn in our side that came with the European loss," Betis forward Jorge Molina said. "It's time to give some happiness to our fans."

Netherlands: AFC Ajax v ADO Den Haag (Sunday 16.30)
After last weekend's opportunity to clinch the Eredivisie crown went begging with results failing to fall their way, the Dutch title holders will be hoping this weekend is the one when they seal a historic fourth successive championship. With Ajax six points clear of nearest challengers Feyenoord with three games to play, victory against tenth-ranked Den Haag, coupled with a slip-up by the Rotterdam club at PSV Eindhoven, will secure a notable first.

The Amsterdam outfit have never before won four in a row, a feat only achieved by PSV (twice, from 1986–89 and 2005–2008), and Frank de Boer will become the first coach to manage four in a row. "Winning championships never gets boring, and forming young players and building a team is always a nice thing to do," said De Boer. "There is still a lot to do – reaching the Champions League's last 16, for instance. That is also a prize for a club like Ajax."

England: Liverpool FC v Manchester City FC (Sunday 14.37)
On a run of nine straight Premier League victories, the Reds' dream of a 19th English championship – and first since 1990 – may hinge on this match against City, who trail Liverpool by four points but have two games in hand. Title talk at Anfield remains subdued, even though in 29-goal Luis Suárez and 20-strike Daniel Sturridge they boast the Premier League's top pairing. "We're not getting carried away with the talk of a possible trophy," said the Uruguayan.

Having seen presumed rivals Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC wobble in recent weeks, City, in third, can only hope the occasion gets to Liverpool too. "We've been here before and have won the title recently, whereas Liverpool haven't won one for a long time," said City midfielder James Milner, ratcheting up the pressure. "We know that if we win all our remaining games, we would win the title – and the same applies to Liverpool, so it's definitely one of the biggest games of the season."

France: Olympique Lyonnais v Paris Saint-Germain (Sunday 21.00)
Bitterly disappointed to have been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, Paris could yet end the week with a celebration: should the leaders' visit to Lyon yield a ninth consecutive Ligue 1 win, they would be confirmed as champions provided AS Monaco FC lose at Stade Rennais FC on Saturday. Coach Laurent Blanc said: "We must bounce back by winning the league and League Cup [Paris play Lyon in the 19 April final]."

After a European exit of their own on Thursday, fifth-placed Lyon are nine points short of the UEFA Champions League spots with six games left – but hope springs eternal.

All times CET

Last updated: 11/04/14 11.13CET