Derby day in Madrid, Bayern and Dortmund face off, Juve hope to remain top

Updated: November 30, 2012

Its a big weekend of football across Europe as some of the big guns go head to head in their respective leagues. In Madrid, the Santiago Bernabeu plays host to third place Real Madrid against second placed city rivals Athletico Madrid in what is a must win for Jose Mourinho and his team. In Germany Bayern Munich look to establish control of the table when they host defending champions Borussia Dortmund, in France league leaders Lyon host defending champions Montpellier and in Italy Juventus look for the points against Torino in another big derby.

Jose Mourinho is feeling the heat, especially after last weeks 1-0 defeat to Real Betis which has left them 11 points behind rivals Barcelona. Tomorrow they face inform Athletico Madrid in the what will without question be a fiery Madrid derby. For the first time in 14 years, Athletico come into the derby ahead of their rivals in the table. Radamel Falcao has been the main reason for their success to date, with 14 goals in 13 games, cementing him as one of the leading strikers in the world this year, attracting some big interest from other clubs, in particular Chelsea who are said to be preparing a £60 million offer in January.

Barcelona take on Athletic Bilbao aiming to maintain their unbeaten start which has seen them only drop two points so far in the Clasico against Real Madrid. Lionel Messi has hit 19 goals in the league and is only three away now from former-Germany striker Gerd Muller’s record of 85 in a calendar year.

Malaga responded to a dip in form with a convincing 4-0 win over Valencia last weekend and now play Getafe while Real Betis who are level with them on 22 points are away at Deportivo la Coruna. Levante look to respond to their 4-0 defeat by Barcelona away to Celta Vigo and Valencia hope to maintain their strong home record against Real Sociedad. Elsewhere, Mallorca play Zaragoza and Sevilla entertain Valladolid.

In Germany, Bayern Munich with a 10 point lead at the top of the Bundesliga hope to stretch that against Borussia Dortmund. Bayern’s 2-0 win at 10-man Freiburg on Wednesday took the Bavarians another two points clear of the chasing pack, while Dortmund dropped to third thanks to Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at home to Fortuna Duesseldorf. Despite their form Bayern will be aware that the last win against their rivals came in 2010.

In the French League, the big clash of the weekend features league leaders Lyon against defending champions Montpellier. Lyon thrashed Marseille during the week in an impressive 4-1 win. Seeking their first title since the last of their seven consecutive triumphs in 2008, Lyon have a two-point lead over chasing Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return from a two-match suspension inspired PSG to a 4-0 rout of Troyes last Saturday, however midweek they were sent packing by St. Etienne in the French Cup. This weekend they travel to Nice who have won 3 of their last 4 and sit in 10th.

In Italy, Turin hosts derby day as Juventus welcome Torino. Juve are unbeaten against Torino in the last 12 games, and on home soil and have 33 wins, 18 draws and 16 defeats over the years.

Napoli will be hoping that Juve will slip up as they are only 2 points behind. They are unbeaten this month in all competitions, including the Europa League, and have scored 14 goals in their past six games and hope to add to that against Pescara at home.

Third place Fiorentina, level on points with Inter, host Sampdoria with a striker crisis as Toni and Jovetic are expected to miss the game due to injury.

AC Milan will look to build on their jump up to ninth place, thanks to their 1-0 win over Juve last week but face a potential banana skin away to Catania, who humbled Lazio 4-0 two weeks ago.

Inter, meanwhile, will be expected to keep the pace with both Juve and Napoli when they host Palermo at the San Siro.