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.
The big game of the La Liga weekend comes on Saturday night, with Barcelona traveling to San Sebastián, desperately hoping to bounce back.
Xavi’s side slipped down to fourth last weekend, following their defeat in el Clásico, taking an early lead through İlkay Gündoğan at Montjuïc, only for Real Madrid to pinch the points in stoppage time.
This was Barça’s first defeat of the campaign, but it leaves the champions four points adrift the leaders.
The Blaugrana will certainly be tested again here, up against Real Sociedad, the side currently just one place below them.
Imanol Alguacil’s team are still unbeaten at Anoeta this season, winning each of their last four in front of their own supporters, so can la Real claim a famous victory over Barcelona?
24 hours earlier, Atlético Madrid are likely to go top of the table, even if only temporarily, with los Colchoneros expected to pick up a seventh La Liga win on the spin when they face Las Palmas at Estadio Gran Canaria.
Current leaders Real Madrid will then get the chance to respond on Sunday night, as Carlo Ancelotti’s team welcome cross-city rivals Rayo Vallecano to the Bernabéu.
The other team in the title race right now are Girona, so will Blanquivermells enjoy a night top of the tree after they visit El Sadar to take on struggling Osasuna on Saturday lunchtime?
At the bottom, Almería remain winless, following last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Las Palmas, so will that change when they meet Alavés at Mendizorrotza?
Meanwhile, Rafa Benítez is under enormous pressure at fellow bottom-three dwellers Celta Vigo, so defeat at home to Sevilla could spell the end for his very short tenure.
Serie A’s headline act this weekend comes on Sunday night, with fierce rivals Fiorentina and Juventus locking horns at Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Despite pre-season concerns, Massimiliano Allegri’s team appear capable of mounting a serious title challenge, starting the weekend second, two points below Inter.
La Vecchia Signora have now won three on the spin, unbeaten in five overall, albeit they did require a 96th minute winner from Andrea Cambiaso to overcome Hellas Verona in Turin last weekend.
Meanwhile, Fiorentina are seeking to avoid three successive Serie A defeats for the first time since May 2022, having lost back-to-back games against Empoli and Lazio ahead of this one.
To say I Viola supporters do not like Juventus would be an understatement and a half, so Vincenzo Italiano’s team will have to be really up for this one.
On Saturday, current leaders Internazionale make the short 35 mile journey north-east to Bergamo, where they’ll find in-form Atalanta.
Simone Inzaghi’s side remained top by defeating Roma last weekend, Marcus Thuram the late match-winner, while la Dea have also won back-to-back games, so will provide a stern examination of Inter’s credentials.
The division’s two winless teams Udinese and Salernitana are both likely to remain so, given that they’re facing A.C. Milan and champions Napoli respectively.
Friday night’s fixture looks ripe for an upset, with Bologna knowing that victory at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara would see them leapfrog inconsistent Lazio into the European spots.
The biggest game happening anywhere in Europe this weekend comes from the Bundesliga, where the two clubs who’ve shared the last 14 Meisterschale, albeit not very evenly, go head-to-head.
Borussia Dortmund know victory in der Klassiker would see them leapfrog 11-in-a-row champions Bayern Munich in the table, blowing the title race wide-open in the process.
Edin Terzić's team do remain unbeaten, winning five on the spin prior to last Sunday’s chaotic 3-3 draw in Frankfurt.
Thomas Tuchel’s team meantime hammered Darmstadt 8-0 a week ago, all the goals coming in the second half, although they have faltered in both big games so far, held to 2-2 draws by Leverkusen and Leipzig.
Nevertheless, given that Bayern are unbeaten in ten meetings with Dortmund, winning nine of them, most would expect to see an away win at Westfalenstadion, in a fixture that always guarantees goals.
Before all of that, current leaders Bayer Leverkusen can extend their lead at the top, traveling to Rhein-Neckar-Arena to take on in-form Hoffenheim, with Xabi Alonso’s side seeking a sixth successive win.
Surprise package Stuttgart suffered just their second defeat of the season last weekend, although die Schwaben will fancy their chances of bouncing back against top-flight debutants Heidenheim on Sunday.
Bottom of the table Mainz are likely to remain there given that RB Leipzig are visiting Mewa Arena.
Union Berlin meantime suffered an 11th successive defeat in all competitions on Tuesday night when they were dumped out of the DFB-Pokal by Stuttgart.
Die Eisernen’s latest attempt at ending this sequence sees them face Eintracht Frankfurt, but die Adler will certainly fancy their chances of victory at Stadion An der Alten Försterei, given the home side’s plight.
Despite winning nine of the last 11 Ligue 1 titles, Paris Saint-Germain actually haven’t been top of the table so far this season, although that will change if they’re victorious on Friday night.
Les Rouges-et-Bleus welcome Montpellier to Parc des Princes and, given that la Paillade haven’t won a league game in Paris since 2010, most would expect Luis Enrique’s side to collect the three points.
48 hours later, current front-runners Nice can then reclaim that spot when they welcome Stade Rennais to the French Riviera.
Francesco Farioli’s team are the only side left in the division yet to taste defeat, winning six of their last seven, with each of their last four victories by the same 1-0 scoreline.
Rennes boss Bruno Génésio, in contrast, is under big pressure, given that his side have won only twice all season, meaning les Rouge et Noirs will certainly not be relishing this long trip south.
On Saturday night, hopefully those making the journey to Stade Vélodrome will actually have a game to see this time.
Last weekend’s Choc des Olympiques was postponed after the Lyon bus was attacked by Marseille ultras, so OM fans will need to be on their best behavior for the visit of LOSC Lille.
On the pitch, les Phocéens are down in ninth place, while the visitors are all the way up in fourth, so can les Dogues upset the home crowd even further?
As mentioned, Lyon did not get to take to the field last Sunday, meaning les Gones remain bottom of the table and winless, having been beaten by Clermont Foot at home when they were last in action.
Fabio Grosso’s side welcome the other bottom three dwellers Metz to Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Sunday’s early kick off, so can Lyon, very belatedly, win for the first time this season?
Ajax have won a football match!
Over in Amsterdam, John van ‘t Schip’s first game in charge of Ajax saw him lead the fallen giants to their first victory in any competition since 26 August.
On Thursday night, they beat FC Voledam 2-0, Steven Bergwijn and Chuba Akpom scoring, a result that saw the record 36-times Dutch champions climb off the Eredivisie foot of the table, moving up to 15th.
Before this, they’d lost five successive league games, but are now targeting back-to-back victories as they welcome Heerenveen to the Johan Cruijff Arena.