Five matches to look out for across Europe this weekend

Sports Mole rounds up five fixtures from around Europe which are likely to catch the eye as domestic football returns this weekend.

With the exception of England's performances, the recent international break provided more excitement than is usually expected when domestic football is put on hold, with a host of teams booking their place at next summer's World Cup and notable names - including Netherlands, Chile and USA - missing out.

However, the return of domestic football will still be welcomed across Europe, and it is back with a bang with some mouth-watering fixtures taking place this weekend.

Jupp Heynckes takes charge of his first match back in the Bayern Munich hotseat when they host Freiburg, Serie A title hopefuls Roma and Napoli duke it out at the Stadio Olimpico and there is the 100th edition of the East Midlands 'Brian Clough' derby between Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

Yet none of these even make it into Sports Mole's top five fixtures to look out for this weekend.



Liverpool vs. Manchester United (Saturday, 12.30pm)

PL top 7 test 2

English football's two most successful clubs go head to head for the first time this season at Anfield on Saturday, with Liverpool hosting Manchester United on Merseyside.

Still widely regarded as the biggest match of the season in England, both clubs are currently in a battle to restore their former glories following a fallow period in the league.

United look closest to achieving that goal this season having made a blistering start to the campaign, dropping just two points from their seven matches and scoring 21 goals along the way to set the early Premier League pace alongside local rivals Manchester City.

Jose Mourinho's Red Devils will arrive at Anfield on the back of six consecutive wins and nine victories from their last 10 outings, while Liverpool have won just one of their last seven games across all competitions and have failed to keep a single clean sheet in that time.

However, the hosts often save their best performances for the biggest games - and they don't come much bigger than this one. Seven points already separate the two sides in the Premier League table, and Liverpool will know that they can ill afford to let that gap grow much bigger.

Read our full match preview for this Saturday lunchtime showdown by clicking here.



Inter Milan vs. AC Milan (Sunday 7.45pm)

Serie A top 7 take two

Much like the Liverpool versus Manchester United match, the Milan derby has lost a certain degree of its allure in recent seasons due to neither side being able to consistently challenge for league titles.

Inter have failed to finish in the top three of Serie A in any of the past six seasons, whereas Milan have sunk to as low as 10th in the table in the four seasons since they secured a top-three spot.

However, it looks like being a different story this time around following significant investment in both clubs, with Inter in particular making a promising start to the new season.

The Nerazzurri go into the match sitting third in the table and, with the rest of the top five all facing each other, victory would see them steal a march on at least two of their closest rivals and could even leave them top of the pile by the end of the weekend.

Milan still have more work to do, currently sitting in seventh place having won four and lost three matches so far this season, but they have been beaten just once in their last seven competitive meetings with their San Siro rivals.



Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona (Saturday, 7.45pm)

La Liga top 4 test

Barcelona's 100% record faces its sternest test yet in La Liga when they travel to the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium for the first time to take on Atletico Madrid.

Ernesto Valverde's side have overcome a turbulent summer to make a perfect start in their bid to wrestle the Liga title back from Real Madrid, winning all seven of their matches to open up an early seven-point lead over Real and six-point advantage over Atletico.

The atmosphere at the Wanda Metropolitano will be worlds away from Barcelona last match in front of closed doors, although there will again be no Barcelona fans in attendance after Atletico cancelled the away tickets due to "logistical problems".

Matches between these two sides have decided titles in recent seasons, but Atletico first and foremost face a battle to get into the top four this term with Sevilla and Valencia both ahead of them in the standings going into the weekend.

Diego Simeone's side are one of only three remaining unbeaten teams in La Liga, though, and with two wins from two league games at their new home so far, they will be relishing the prospect of stopping Barca in their tracks on Saturday.



Borussia Dortmund vs. RB Leipzig (Saturday, 5.30pm)

Bundesliga top 4 take 2

Before La Liga's first versus fourth contest gets underway, the Bundesliga will host one of its own as early frontrunners Borussia Dortmund take on the newest kids on the block RB Leipzig.

Loathed by many fans around Germany, Leipzig nonetheless impressed during their debut season in the top flight last term, finishing second behind Bayern Munich and three points clear of third-placed Dortmund.

Bayern's stuttering start to the new campaign has opened the door for teams usually in the chasing pack, and it is Dortmund who have made the most of that opportunity so far by dropping just two points from their opening seven Bundesliga matches.

Peter Bosz's side currently enjoy a five-point lead over Bayern and Hoffenheim - and are six clear of Leipzig - while also boasting both the best attack (21) and defence (2) in the division.

Three matches at the Westfalenstadion have so far yielded nine points, 13 goals and just one conceded, and Dortmund will be favourites against a Leipzig side that has already lost three times on the road this term.



Juventus vs. Lazio (Saturday, 5pm)

Serie A top 4 take two

Serie A boasts a wealth of exciting matches this weekend, with six of the top seven in action against each other, and it all gets underway when champions Juventus host Lazio in Turin.

Juve find themselves in the unfamiliar position of playing catch-up seven games into the new season having slipped up last time out against Atalanta to drop their first points of the season.

Napoli continued their perfect start to the campaign to ensure that the Old Lady resume duties two points adrift of the leaders, and with Inter Milan only behind Juve on goal difference, some serious competition is shaping up if Massimiliano Allegri's side are to claim an unprecedented seventh consecutive title.

Lazio are just one place behind those top three having won five of their opening seven games of the new season, and they arrive at the Juventus Stadium with a 100% record on their travels from four matches across all competitions this season, scoring 11 goals in the process.

The capital outfit have also already beaten Juventus this season, doing so in dramatic fashion to claim the Italian Super Cup as Alessandro Murgia scored a 93rd-minute winner to a seal a 3-2 triumph in a match which had already seen Paulo Dybala score twice in the final five minutes to cancel out Ciro Immobile's brace.

Jose Mourinho waves after the Premier League game between Manchester United and Crystal Palace on May 21, 2017
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2Manchester UnitedMan Utd17122337112638
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4Tottenham HotspurSpurs1794430141631
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6Burnley179441612431
7Arsenal1793530201030
8Leicester CityLeicester177552723426
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11Southampton174671723-618
12Huddersfield TownHuddersfield175391229-1718
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton174581423-917
14Bournemouth174491520-516
15Stoke CityStoke174491936-1716
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle1743101626-1015
17West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom172871222-1014
18Crystal Palace173591228-1614
19West Ham UnitedWest Ham173591432-1814
20Swansea CitySwansea173311922-1312
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