BSS : 19 FEBRUARY, 2021, 11:03 PM
There is a Milan derby of huge significance in the Serie A title race, while Schalke and Borussia Dortmund clash in possibly the last Ruhr derby for a while, Kylian Mbappe takes on his old club and the Bundesliga’s other striking sensation measures up to Robert Lewandowski.
AFP Sport selects some of the standout action in Europe this weekend:
Silva versus Lewandowski
Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayern Munich, Saturday 1430 GMT
Bayern were given a fright by Arminia Bielefeld on Monday, having to come from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 on the back of their Club World Cup exertions. Hansi Flick’s team remain five points clear of RB Leipzig atop the Bundesliga, but they face a tough test at third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.
Eintracht lost 5-0 when they last faced Bayern, away, in October. However, they have won eight and drawn two of their last 10 Bundesliga outings, powered by Portugal forward Andre Silva, who has 11 goals in that time and 18 altogether in the Bundesliga.
Only Robert Lewandowski, with 25, has more, but Bayern could have one eye here on next Tuesday’s Champions League last 16, first leg against Lazio.
One-sided Ruhr derby?
Schalke 04 v Borussia Dortmund, Saturday 1730 GMT
Erling Braut Haaland is once again the talk of Europe after his Champions League double against Sevilla, and now he has struggling Schalke in his sights with Borussia Dortmund in the Ruhr derby.
Haaland, who has 25 goals in 24 games this season, was on target when Dortmund won 3-0 in the last derby in October. Edin Terzic’s team won 3-2 in Spain but a run of just one win in six in the Bundesliga has seen them slip to sixth.
There is therefore a risk they won’t be in the Champions League next season. Schalke, meanwhile, look unlikely to be in the Bundesliga next season. It is still just one win all season for the Royal Blues, who are bottom, nine points from safety. This could be the last Ruhr derby for a while.
Stakes high in Milan derby
AC Milan v Inter Milan, Sunday 1400 GMT
The Scudetto could be on its way back to Milan after nine years of domination by Juventus. Inter and AC Milan clash in a hotly-anticipated “Derby della Madonnina” with Antonio Conte’s Inter having moved a point clear of their city rivals at the top last weekend after Milan lost at Spezia.
With Roma and Juve both some way off the pace, the winners of this derby, which pits Romelu Lukaku against Zlatan Ibrahimovic again, will be in a very strong position.
Inter have the momentum and have won five of the last six derbies, including a 2-1 victory in the Coppa Italia last month.
However Milan, who rested key players including Ibrahimovic against Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League, won the last Serie A derby in October.
Mbappe meets old club
Paris Saint-Germain v Monaco, Sunday 2000 GMT
Fresh from a statement performance in the Champions League, Kylian Mbappe faces his old club Monaco in a key game in Ligue 1.
Mbappe scored a stunning hat-trick to floor Barcelona, leaving PSG with one foot in the quarter-finals in Europe just as they find themselves playing catch-up in Ligue 1.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are second, a point behind Lille, while Monaco are fourth, five points behind PSG.
The principality side are unbeaten in 10 league games, and in Wissam Ben Yedder and Kevin Volland they boast a fearsome strike duo. But they know all about the threat posed by Mbappe, who emerged with Monaco and starred in their run to the title in 2017.
Barcelona to bounce back?
Barcelona v Cadiz, Sunday 1300 GMT
A humiliating night against PSG was a reminder to Barcelona of how far they have fallen compared with Europe’s elite. Yet the 4-1 hiding came just as Ronald Koeman’s side have been enjoying a revival in La Liga, in which they are unbeaten in 12 and have enjoyed seven straight wins. Lionel Messi has scored 14 in his last 14 league games.
For all that they remain third, nine points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, and now play a Cadiz side who won 2-1 when the teams met in December. However, Cadiz are on a run of four straight defeats in which they have conceded 15 goals. This therefore looks like the ideal game for Barca to bounce back.
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