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Sparta on the brink, summit meeting in Russia

Published: Friday 2 May 2014, 10.00CET
AC Sparta Praha and Club Atlético de Madrid can win titles, Manchester City FC can close in, there is a table-topping game in Russia plus the Milan derby: UEFA.com previews the weekend.

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Published: Friday 2 May 2014, 10.00CET

Sparta on the brink, summit meeting in Russia

AC Sparta Praha and Club Atlético de Madrid can win titles, Manchester City FC can close in, there is a table-topping game in Russia plus the Milan derby: UEFA.com previews the weekend.

England: Everton FC v Manchester City FC (Saturday 18.30)
The title race was thrown back open by Liverpool FC's loss to Chelsea FC last weekend, with the championship back in City's hands. They are three points behind Liverpool, and two adrift of Chelsea, but City have a game in hand on both and superior goal difference, meaning wins in their three remaining fixtures, at Everton then at home to Aston Villa FC on Wednesday and West Ham United FC on 11 May, would almost certainly secure a second league crown in three years.

Fernandinho told City's official website: "We are back with a big chance of being champions again, we are not depending on other teams – it only depends on us, and that has changed a lot." Everton, who could do neighbours Liverpool an inadvertent favour, are still chasing a UEFA Champions League play-off berth, but four points behind Arsenal with two games to go, they need the Gunners to slip up on Sunday against West Bromwich Albion FC even if they defeat City.

Czech Republic: FK Teplice v AC Sparta Praha (Saturday 20.15)
Unbeaten Sparta have had the champagne on ice for some time. With a ten-point advantage over FC Viktoria Plzeň, Vítězslav Lavička's charges need just two more points from their last four games in order to wrap up a 36th top-flight title.

"It would be naive to say that all we have to do is to make the final step, but we want to get there as soon as possible, ideally in Teplice," said defender Ondřej Švejdík. The hosts are fifth in the standings, 31 points behind Sparta.

Russia: FC Lokomotiv Moskva v FC Zenit (Sunday 11.30)
Second host first with Lokomotiv knowing they can seize top spot with two games to go if they prevail in the capital. Much has changed since Zenit beat the Railwaymen 2-1 at home in September. Zenit have won six in six since André Villas-Boas took over as coach, with the Premier-Liga's 16-goal leading scorer Hulk on top of his game.

Lokomotiv's form has been less spectacular, but they have been grinding out results. Undefeated since 9 November, they will nonetheless feel the absence of suspended centre-back Vedran Ćorluka. "This game has major importance for the title race," said Lokomotiv defensive midfielder Aleksandr Sheshukov. "We have no room for error – only victory will do for us. Of course, we will still have the games against FC Rostov and PFC CSKA Moskva ahead, but it will be hard to believe we can take the title even if we draw with Zenit."

FYROM: FK Rabotnicki v FK Vardar (Sunday 16.30)
Trailing Rabotnicki by four points with three games left, Vardar visit the leaders mindful only a win in the Skopje derby will keep their hopes of a third consecutive title alive. Left-back Stevan Reljić is back after suspension, but Mite Cikarski, Ilcho Naumovski, Jasir Asani, Dimitar Ivanov and Anej Lovrečič are injured and will miss what Vardar assistant coach Aleksandar Vasoski described as the "match of the season".

"This is like a Champions League final for us," he told UEFA.com. "We are not contemplating anything other than a win, which will increase our chances of the title." Fourth-placed Vardar have won just four of their last ten games, while in-form Rabotnicki have registered seven victories in their last nine, including a 2-1 triumph over their arch-rivals on 15 March.

Spain: Levante UD v Club Atlético de Madrid (Sunday 17.00)
Diego Simeone's side could be crowned champions this weekend should they win and both FC Barcelona and UEFA Champions League final opponents Real Madrid CF lose. Failing that, two victories from their three remaining games would bring the Liga title to the banks of the River Manzanares for the first time since 1996.

"It's difficult, but we are going to try to do it," captain Gabi said of the latter goal as his side prepare to travel to 11th-placed Levante, who are assured of their top-flight status for next season. "We are worthy of the position we are in, [but] assuming we are champions ahead of time could turn out badly for everyone."

Italy: AC Milan v FC Internazionale Milano (Sunday 20.45)
Milan are tenth in Serie A but just one point behind sixth-placed Torino FC and UEFA Europa League qualification as they face city rivals Inter in the Derby della Madonnina. "It's a very important game for us," Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati said. “First of all because we want to qualify for Europe, and then because we haven't achieved much in recent derbies [only one point in the last five games against Inter]. We need to be focused and calm, if we want this victory."

Inter are fifth, six points above the Rossoneri with only three games remaining, but defender Andrea Ranocchia will not settle for a draw. "Whenever you play a derby, you only think about victory, nothing else,"he said.

All times CET

Last updated: 02/05/14 15.02CET

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