There’s plenty of European football to look forward to this weekend, so here’s a selection of games not to be missed from La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Coupe de France.
After a busy week or so of action from both the Supercopa de España and Copa del Rey, a full La Liga fixture list returns for the first time in over a fortnight.
Of course, there were still seven league matches last weekend, including Girona going top, albeit in a very uninspiring manner, battling to a goalless draw with bottom of the table and winless Almería.
Míchel’s men did get back to winning ways in the Copa on Wednesday, and Blanquivermells are highly likely to beat Sevilla on Sunday night too.
That’s because los Nervionenses are in desperate form in La Liga, winning just three matches all season, as many victories as they’ve had managers, hovering a point above the drop zone, following last Friday night’s last-gasp 3-2 home defeat to Alavés.
Should Cádiz win at Mendizorroza on Friday, Quique Sánchez Flores’ side would kick off in the bottom three.
Elsewhere, both big-hitters are in action on Sunday, with Almería not very likely to claim their first win of the season against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu, while los Blancos will reclaim the summit should they claim the victory they’re widely-expected to.
After that, Barcelona face a tricky away trip to Real Betis, although Manuel Pellegrini’s team have won just one of their last six.
On Monday night, having slipped down to fifth, Atlético Madrid must beat Granada at Nuevo Los Cármenes, but this won’t be easy, given that los Colchoneros have lost each of their last four on the road.
Athletic Club climbed up to third following their Basque derby victory a week ago, a fourth win on the bounce for Ernesto Valverde’s team, so can they continue that streak at Mestalla on Saturday night?
Serie A & Supercoppa Italiana Final
Just as the Spanish had done last week, the Italian’s have sold their Supercup to Saudi Arabia too.
For the very first time, the Supercoppa Italiana is now a four-team tournament played in Riyāḍh, with Napoli facing Fiorentina on Thursday, before Inter take on Lazio on Friday.
The final, oddly, takes place on Monday and Internazionale are firm favourites to pick up a third successive Supercoppa, given that they’re currently top of Serie A.
However, back home, this fact might change on Sunday night, given that Juventus are only top points adrift, and would leapfrog them with victory over Lecce at Stadio Via del mare.
In mid-week, la Vecchia Signora put in their most impressive performance of the season, smashing Sassuolo 3-0, Dušan Vlahović with a brace, and it would be a statement of intent for Massimiliano Allegri’s side to go top, even after having played a game more.
That though was not the biggest Serie A news on Tuesday, this being the fact that Roma had sacked José Mourinho after 138 games in charge.
Given that I Giallorossi are down in ninth place, out the Coppa Italia and having won just one of their last six, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Mourinho is beloved in Rome more than possibly anywhere else.
Later on Tuesday, excitingly, it was confirmed that Daniele De Rossi, the capitan futuro himself, will be interim manager for the remainder of this season, leading the club he represented 616 times as a player.
His first game on the sidelines will come on Saturday evening, welcoming Hellas Verona to Stadio Olimpico, a game Roma should win, given that I Gialloblu are third bottom, despite a recent upturn in results.
Following that on Saturday night, A.C. Milan will be looking to make it four wins on the spin when they face struggling Udinese at Stadio Friuli.
The bottom two, Empoli and Salernitana, both have relatively winnable home games on Sunday, so can either drag themselves back into the survival conversation?
Fan of Bologna, Torino, Sassuolo or Atalanta? Well you get a nice weekend off, while your scheduled opponents are off in Saudi Arabia. It’s almost like the fixtures could’ve be organised better!
The Bundesliga weekend was scheduled to begin with a huge relegation six-pointer on Friday night between Mainz host Union Berlin, but it was postponed on Thursday due to heavy snow in Rhineland-Palatinate
In fixtures that are scheduled to go ahead, Bayer Leverkusen’s title credentials will be sorely put to the test on Saturday night when they travel to Leipzig.
Last weekend, Xabi Alonso’s side began the rückrunde with a last-gasp victory over Augsburg, requiring a 94th minute goal from Exequiel Palacios to leave Bavaria with the points.
Die Schwarzroten are on course to pick up 90 points this season, for context, the all-time record is 91, but Bayer must keep on winning, given that they have Bayern Munich breathing down their neck.
Thomas Tuchel’s team swatted aside Hoffenheim 3-0 last Friday, with a similar scoreline expected as they welcome Werder Bremen to Allianz Arena on Sunday.
Elsewhere, after both Stuttgart and RB Leipzig lost last weekend, Borussia Dortmund are very much back in the hunt for a top four finish.
Edin Terzić's team are targeting back-to-back Bundesliga victories for the first time since mid-October, facing Köln at RheinEnergieStadion, while die Geißböcke have only won one of their last nine and sit 17th.
Eintracht Frankfurt, who won in Leipzig a week ago, travel to Darmstadt while, simultaneously, Stuttgart will seek to get their Champions League push back on track away to Bochum.
Coupe de France
It’s another Coupe de France weekend, with no Ligue 1 fixtures taking place, and there are certainly some intriguing ties to look forward to as the competition reaches the round of 32.
On Saturday night, Paris Saint-Germain travel to third-tier US Orléans and, having scored nine in the previous round, another emphatic PSG victory seems likely.
LOSC Lille meanwhile put 12 past Golden Lion FC a fortnight ago and, while they’re unlikely to reach double figures, Paulo Fonseca’s side should cruise through against fallen giants RC Paris.
On Friday night, the round begins with crisis club Lyon’s trip to Bergerac Périgord; can the third-tier outfit spring a surprise?
Nice travel to Girondins de Bordeaux on Saturday and, given that les Marines et Blanc are currently rooted in Ligue 2, it’ll be great to see a big game return to Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux.
Holders Toulouse are at Rouen on Sunday, with le Téfécé desperate to avoid an embarrassing exit.
Lastly, the headline Sunday night clash comes from Roazhon Park where Stade Rennais will welcome Olympique de Marseille for a fixture that should guarantee fireworks both on and off the field.