Clasico is arguably the most eagerly awaited match of the season, but there are a number of other intriguing matches taking place this weekend.
IN ENGLAND …
• Is Liverpool v Manchester United still the biggest game in English football
One has to go back to the days of Rafa Benitez to find a time when England’s two most successful clubs were both competing for the Premier League title at the same time. This season is no different, but there is still plenty at stake in Sunday’s game, with a resurgent Liverpool trailing their great rivals by two points in the race for the fourth Champions League spot.
IN FRANCE …
• Can Monaco make the top three?
Delighted at having knocked Arsenal out of Europe in midweek, Leonardo Jardim’s side travel to Reims on Sunday looking close the gap on Lyon, PSG and Marseille in the race for next season’s Champions League places.
IN GERMANY …
• Can Schalke qualify for the Champions League again?
Arguably the match of the European season was Schalke’s 4-3 Champions League win at the Bernabeu over holders Real Madrid. It meant Roberto Di Matteo’s side fell just short of reaching the last eight, but the dynamic performance showed that they were not out of place on the big stage. Domestically, it’s been an erratic season for Schalke, but a win on Sunday over Bayer Leverkusen would take level with Roger Schmidt’s side in the fourth Champions League qualifying spot.
IN ITALY …
• Has Rudi Garcia become a burden for Roma?
Two days ago the Roma coach said he would leave the club if he felt he had become a burden. Garcia was speaking in the wake of a terrible run which had brought just one win in the last ten matches. Thursday’s 3-0 home defeat to Fiorentina in the Europa League cemented the feeling that his days in the capital are numbered. Defeat to struggling Cesena on Sunday would surely mark the end of his two-year tenure.
IN SCOTLAND …
• How many red cards at Celtic Park?
Celtic play Dundee United on Saturday for the third time in six days. Three players were sent off as the Hoops won 2-0 in the League Cup Final and 4-0 in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals.
IN SPAIN …
• Will the final clasico of the season prove decisive in the title race?
Barcelona host Real Madrid in the final clasico of the season. The hosts lead La Liga by a point and a win on Sunday would place Luis Enrique’s side in a strong position with just ten matches remaining.
One minor sub-plot involves the club’s two big-name forwards. Cristiano Ronaldo, who at one point had a seemingly unassailable lead at the top of the ESM Golden Shoe standings, was overhauled last week by his great rival Lionel Messi. Their personal rivalry looks set to run until the end of this season and many more beyond that.