Messi looks set, Conte back for Juve, Bayern hoping for more before Winter break

Updated: December 7, 2012

Lionel Messi looks fit to take his place this weekend following his midweek scare, Juventus manager Conte returns to the touchline this weekend following his ban while Bayern Munich look to turn the screw ahead of the Bundesliga Winter break and Ligue 1 leaders Lyon put their two point advantage on the line at arch-rivals Saint Etienne on Sunday in one of the oldest derbies in the country.

Lionel Messi could yet be available for Barcelona at Real Betis on Sunday, despite being stretchered off the field against Benfica in the Champions League. The league leaders go to Seville looking to defend a six-point advantage over Atletico Madrid and 11 over Real Madrid at the scene of the latter’s latest upset a fortnight ago. Betis beat Real Madrid 1-0 on that ocassion and will be formidable opposition for Barca but Messi himself believes there is plenty of talent in the squad if he is not available to play with what has been diagnosed as a bruised knee. Messi needs to hit just one more goal to equal Gerd Mueller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year in 197

Atletico entertain Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday while Real Madrid go to Valladolid on Saturday looking to build on a morale boosting week. The 2-0 derby victory at home to Atletico last Saturday was followed by a 4-1 Champions League mauling of Ajax on Tuesday with the added bonus of resting several key players.

In Italy, Antonio Conte returns to the touchlines, following his ban imposed at the start of the season by the Italian authorities for his role in a match-fixing affair while at his former club Siena. They visit Palermo in what could be a difficult encounter for the Serie A leaders. Palermo were unlucky to suffer a 1-0 defeat at Inter last week, are undefeated at the Stadio Renzo Barbera since a 3-0 rout by Napoli in their league opener back in August and held AC Milan to a 2-2 draw in October.

Inter host Napoli in a batttle of the title contenders to Juve. AC Milan, meanwhile, will be without Kevin Prince Boateng for their trip to Torino.

In Germany, Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich are hoping to take their Champions League form into the weekend’s Bundesliga action where they will defend an eight-point lead at the top of the table, when they travel to Augsburg.

Behind Bayern in the league come Bayer Leverkusen with in third, 11 points behind, two-time reigning champions Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund host Wolfsburg and Leverkusen are at Hanover.

Schalke 04 sit fourth in the table, two points behind Dortmund and just one point ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt, they head to VfB Stuttgart having gone winless in their last four Bundesliga matches.

In France Lyon take on Saint Etienne in one of the oldest derbies in the country. Saint Etienne are placed third in the table, five points adrift of Lyon with Marseille in second, two points off the summit. Saint Etienne come into the fixture on a four match winning streak at home, they have a horrendous record against Lyon and haven’t beaten them at home for 13 matches dating back to 1994.

PSG take on Evian with a bit more confidence following their win midweek over Porto. They have endured a difficult month domestically which has seen them drop from the summit to 5 points off the pace. A win is essential for Ancelotti if he wishes to keep hold of his job.