Prodigal De la Peña returns

Local bragging rights are at stake in England and Hungary as previews the weekend's action.

Home favourites 
Though short of match fitness following his summer move from S.S. Lazio, De la Peña should play some part on Saturday night in a fixture which traditionally favours the home side. Espanyol last won it in 1982 and there is nothing in the form book to suggest a repeat performance.

Mixed fortunes for Catalan pair 
Barcelona bounced back from their Copa del Rey defeat by lowly Novelda CF to record pick-me-up wins against Athletic Club Bilbao and Club Brugge KV. Espanyol, meanwhile, have made a slow start under new coach Juande Ramos, losing twice in the league and against third division Alicante CF in the cup.

Big boys in action 
Also in action on Saturday are Real Madrid CF and RC Deportivo La Coruña, at home to Club Atlético Osasuna and Real Valladolid respectively. On Sunday, Valencia CF take their 100 per cent record to Málaga CF, another team with two wins from two games.

England's north-east derby 
Local bragging rights are at stake in England's north-east corner too, with Newcastle United FC facing Sunderland AFC at St James' Park. Adding spice to this Saturday lunchtime kick-off is the fact both sides need the points to climb out of the Premiership's bottom three. However, Sunderland's plight is arguably worse given they have played a game more than their Tyne-Wear rivals.

Title pretensions 
Elsewhere, leaders Arsenal FC host Bolton Wanderers FC while Tottenham Hotspur FC's early title pretensions will be tested by Manchester United FC at Old Trafford.

Big game in Budapest 
As with Newcastle, so with Budapest, where neighbourly feeling could be thin on the ground as Kispest Honvéd FC and MTK Hungária FC meet at the József Bozsik stadium. This fixture was a favourite on the Hungarian calendar in the 1950s when the aforementioned Bozsik played in the same Kispest team as Ferenc Puskás. These days it is MTK who hold the aces, Sándor Egervári's men topping the table with six wins from seven games while Kispest lie eighth.

AEK in the running 
Upsetting the hosts will also be the priority for AEK Athens FC, who travel to Xanthi FC on the fourth matchday of the Alpha Ethniki. AEK followed last week's 1-0 victory over Panathinaikos FC with a UEFA Champions League draw at KRC Genk and will want to keep up with fellow pace-setters Iraklis FC, Olympiakos Piraeus FC and Proodeftiki FC. Olympiakos take on Akratitos FC, while Panathinaikos, pointless after three games, look for a morale-boost at Ionikos FC.

Sporting suffer 
An injection of confidence is exactly what Sporting Clube de Portugal need. Last season's Portuguese league and cup winners suffered a double blow this week: losing 3-1 at home to FK Partizan in the UEFA Cup after a 4-0 defeat at the hands of FC Paços de Ferreira. The Lisbon team will seek to make amends against Varzim SC on Monday.

Bayern's Energie boost 
FC Bayern München also have room for improvement following their midweek loss to Deportivo. However, Ottmar Hitzfeld's men can consolidate their lead of the 1. Bundesliga against FC Energie Cottbus at the Olympiastadion. Another of Germany's Champions League representatives, BV Borussia Dortmund, visit second-placed FC Hansa Rostock.

French title bandwagon 
In France, meanwhile, promoted OGC Nice will want to keep the wheels on their title bandwagon against ES Troyes Aube Champagne on Saturday. Joint tenants of top spot, AJ Auxerre, take on CS Sedan-Ardennes.

Italian action 
This weekend also sees the second round of the Italian season. Milan AC, Internazionale FC and Juventus FC will look to build on opening-day wins when they play AC Perugia, Reggina Calcio and Empoli FC respectively, the latter two away from home.