Across the Continent weekend preview: 9-12 February

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, Ligue 1 and more.

La Liga

In a weekend of top-of-the-table clashes, we have one on our hands in La Liga involving Real Madrid and..... what???.... Girona!

Yes, if you haven’t been closely following Spanish football this season, this tiny Catalan club, predominantly owned by City Football Group, are shaking up the natural order; fairytale stuff.

Last Sunday night, Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Atlético, conceding in the 93rd minute, but Carlo Ancelotti’s team do remain top, after Girona also drew last time, playing out a goalless stalemate with Real Sociedad, controversially denied a last-gasp winner by VAR.

Nevertheless, Blanquivermells have a remarkable points haul of 56 from 23 matches, while Míchel’s men have still only lost once this season, beaten 3-0 when Real Madrid visited Montilivi in September.

So, can Girona get revenge and the Bernabéu, a victory that would take them top, or will los Blancos open up a five-point gap at the top, putting the title race back into cold storage?

Aside from Saturday evening’s huge game, there’s also a key clash at Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, taking place 24 hours later.

On Monday night, Sevilla claimed only their fourth victory of the season, Youssef En-Nesyri’s brace downing Rayo Vallecano 2-1 at Vallecas, easing los Nervionenses’ ongoing relegation concerns.

This weekend, Quique Sánchez Flores will go up against one of his many former clubs, with Atlético Madrid the visitors.

Diego Simeone’s team will be hoping to bounce back from Wednesday night’s Copa del Rey semi-final first leg, beaten 1-0 by Athletic Club at the Metropolitano, leaving them with plenty of work to do.

In La Liga, los Colchoneros have accumulated a measly four points from their last six away games, but Atleti are still favourites to beat a generally hapless Sevilla side.

On Sunday night, Barcelona should face little difficulty defeating second-bottom Granada at Montjuïc.

Rock-bottom Almería will have to wait until Monday for their chance of claiming a first victory of the season, although this seems unlikely , with in-form Athletic visiting Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos.

Last game to mention comes on Saturday and is a Basque derby, in which Real Sociedad will be hoping to get their top four aspirations back on track when Osasuna visit Anoeta.


Real Madrid to win and over 2.5 goals

Real Madrid vs Girona


Barcelona half time/full time

Barcelona vs Granada


Atlético Madrid to win

Sevilla vs Atlético Madrid


Athletic Club Bilbao to win

Almería vs Athletic Club Bilbao


Real Sociedad to win

Real Sociedad vs Osasuna


Under 2.5 goals

Las Palmas vs Valencia


At 29/1 a £10 bet would return £300.23!

La Liga acca of the week

Serie A

After claiming victory in last weekend’s huge Derby d’Italia, thereby moving four points clear at the top of the table, Internazionale Milano have another key game to look forward to this weekend.

On Saturday evening, Simone Inzaghi’s side will be aiming to make it five wins on the spin when they take on resurgent Roma at Stadio Olimpico.

Under interim boss Daniele De Rossi, I Giallorossi have won three out of three, most-recently hammering Cagliari 4-0 on Monday, thereby climbing up to fifth, very much back in the Champions League conversation.

So, can Roma dent Inter’s Scudetto dreams by continuing their perfect record under De Rossi?

Juventus will be certainly hoping this is the case, with Massimiliano Allegri’s men made to wait until Monday when they’ll get the chance to respond, with Udinese visiting Allianz Stadium.

24 hours earlier, AC Milan could move just one point below la Vecchia Signora, even if only temporarily, should they beat Napoli at San Siro.

This seems likely given that I Rossoneri are unbeaten in eight, while I Partenopei have only won three of their last nine, despite a much-needed comeback victory over Hellas Verona last Sunday.

After beating local rivals Sassuolo last time out, Bologna will be hoping to continue their European push when Lecce visit Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.

The weekend starts on Friday night with the bottom two going head-to-head, meaning both Salernitana and Empoli really need the points to boost their survival chances.

The visitors are unbeaten in three matches since hiring notorious escape artist Davide Nicola, so do they kick off as favourites at Stadio Arechi?


Internazionale Milano to win

Roma vs Internazionale Milano


AC Milan to win

AC Milan vs Napoli


Juventus to win and both teams to score NO

Juventus vs Udinese


Atalanta to win

Genoa vs Atalanta


Fiorentina to win

Fiorentina vs Frosinone


At 23/1 a £10 bet would return £240.40!

Serie A acca of the week


The biggest game happening anywhere in Europe this weekend comes from the Bundesliga, with first welcoming second at BayArena.

Bayer Leverkusen, quite remarkably, are still unbeaten across all competitions this season, extending this streak to 30 matches by coming from behind twice to oust Stuttgart 3-2 from the DFB-Pokal on Tuesday.

Back in the Bundesliga, Xabi Alonso’s side have won 16 of 20 matches to date, meaning they’re on course to end the campaign with 88 points; the all-time record is 91!

Despite this, die Schwarzroten are a measly two points clear at the top, with Bayern Munich, chasing a 12th successive Meisterschale, looming in the background.

Thomas Tuchel’s team have won three on the spin, and 12 of their last 14 in the league, although that 5-1 hammering at Frankfurt in their most-recent big away game will give Bayer supporters hope.

We’ve all seen this script many time, there’s a serious challenger to Bayern, but die Roten quell any hope of a title race by demolishing whoever stands in their way.

So, will this be different, because you can’t help thinking, if Leverkusen could win, thereby moving five points clear, that would be a hugely significant moment?

Elsewhere, only goal difference, and a final day collapse, denied Borussia Dortmund the Salatschüssel last season, although this time round their focus is simply on securing a top four finish.

Die Schwarzgelben were held to a goalless draw by Heidenheim last Friday and are in action on Friday night once more, under pressure to beat Freiburg at Westfalenstadion, which won’t be straight-forward.

Stuttgart, currently third, will be seeking to further underline their Champions League aspirations against second-bottom Mainz on Sunday.

RB Leipzig meantime ended their four game winless streak last time out, so will Marco Rose’s side win again, this time facing Augsburg?

The side they beat in Saxony Union Berlin are still hovering dangerously close to the bottom three, so can Nenad Bjelica’s team claim a vital victory as Wolfsburg visit Stadion An der Alten Försterei?


Bayern Munich to win and both teams to score

Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich


Over 2.5 goals

Borussia Dortmund vs Freiburg


RB Leipzig to win

Augsburg vs RB Leipzig


Stuttgart to win

Stuttgart vs Mainz


Eintracht Frankfurt to win

Eintracht Frankfurt vs VfL Bochum


Borussia Mönchengladbach to win

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Darmstadt


At 37/1, a £10 bet would return £378.40

Bundesliga acca of the week

Ligue 1

Ligue 1 returns on Friday night, following a busy week of Coupe de France action.

The headline came on Thursday, with Monaco dumped out by third-tier Rouen on penalties, while PSG, Lyon, Nice, Strasbourg and Rennes from the top-flight did manage to make it through to the quarter-finals.

In the Friday league fixture, Olympique de Marseille are under big pressure to beat Metz, who kick off in the relegation play-off spot, at Stade Vélodrome.

Gennaro Gattuso’s team are currently winless in four, beaten in last Sunday’s Choc des Olympiques, so have slid away from Champions League contention, all the way down to eighth.

On Saturday night, Paris Saint-Germain will move 11 points clear at the top, even if only for 24 hours, should they beat Lille at Parc des Princes, with les Dogues in great form, currently fourth.

The weekend will be bookended by a Derby de la Côte d’Azur, as Nice welcome Monaco to Allianz Rivieria.

No only is this a fierce rivalry, this’ll be a key clash in the race for Champions League qualification, given that les Aiglons are second, just four points above les Monégasques in fifth.

Brest have never finished higher than eighth in the top-flight but currently sit third, with Eric Roy’s team hoping to continue their European push when they take on bottom of the table Clermont Foot.

Lastly, following victory over Marseille, Lyon are now three points clear of danger, so can Pierre Sage’s side pick up three more important points when they face Montpellier at Stade de la Mosson?


Paris Saint-Germain to win and over 2.5 goals

Paris Saint-Germain vs LOSC Lille


Marseille to win and both teams to score NO

Olympique de Marseille vs Metz


Both teams to score

Nice vs Monaco


Brest to win

Clermont Foot vs Brest


Lens to win

Lens vs Strasbourg


At 29/1 a £10 bet would return £297.29!

Ligue 1 acca of the week

Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".