MX23RW : Friday, July 20 01:25:59

This weekend's biggest games in world football

Sports Mole rounds up the biggest matches from across the world to look out for this weekend.

With the final international break of 2017 just around the corner, clubs all over the world are gearing up for another weekend of domestic action.

There are plenty of eye-catching fixtures taking place again this weekend from leagues around the globe, including Greece, Colombia and Brazil.

Here, Sports Mole earmarks the biggest contests to keep an eye out for.



Panathinaikos vs. Olympiacos, Saturday, 5.30pm

Greek Super League table

With a name like 'The Mother of all Battles', you know that clashes between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos are an occasion not to be missed.

The latest edition of Greek football's biggest match takes place on Saturday with both sides in need of a victory to keep up with the pace-setters at the top of the Super League.

These two clubs have shared the last 23 league titles between them, with AEK Athens the last club to upset the duopoly back in 1993-94, although Olympiacos come into this weekend's match sitting fourth in the table, while Panathinaikos are three places and four points further back.

Olympiacos have traditionally been the dominant force, winning 19 of the last 21 league titles, and they have the chance to win three consecutive matches for the first time since February this weekend.

Victory could take them to the top of the table, but Panathinaikos can move no higher than seventh despite losing just one of their last seven outings across all competitions.

The spoils were shared with one win apiece in this Athens derby last season, but Panathinaikos went on to finish third in the table - a full 10 points adrift of their fiercest rivals.



Birmingham City vs. Aston Villa, Sunday, 12pm

Championship table

Championship table

The Second City derby takes place on Sunday, with Birmingham City and Aston Villa having endured contrasting starts to the season in the Championship.

Villa make the short trip to St Andrew's having established themselves as playoff contenders in their second season in the division, losing just one of their last 10 Championship outings after picking up only one point from their opening three games.

Birmingham, by contrast, have only won three of their 13 league games so far this season to leave themselves languishing one point above the relegation zone and already 11 points adrift of their visitors on Sunday.

The Blues have won one and lost one under new boss Steve Cotterill, but they are without a victory in their last 10 meetings with Villa in the league - their joint-longest ever run against their Midlands rivals.

There will be a familiar face in the opposition dugout for the hosts as former boss Steve Bruce returns to St Andrew's, where he has lost five of his previous seven visits as an opposition manager.

Birmingham could begin the match in the relegation zone depending on results on Saturday, whereas Villa could end the weekend as high as fourth place should results go their way.



Deportivo Cali vs. America Cali, Sunday, 12am

The biggest match in Colombian football takes place on Sunday as Cali rivals Deportivo and America face off for the fourth time already since entering the second half of the season.

Deportivo have the bragging rights so far, with two wins on enemy soil in addition to a goalless draw at home which was enough for them to knock their fiercest rivals out of the cup on aggregate.

However, a five-match winless run across all competitions has seen Deportivo slip down to 12th in the table, already 16 points adrift of leaders Santa Fe and four behind their visitors on Sunday.

America, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last five outings after only winning one of their previous 12 before that, lifting them into the final playoff spot.

Sunday's visitors have failed to even score in their last six meetings with their city rivals, though, and the once-dominant force in Colombian football have only won one of the last 16 meetings across all competitions.

Victory for the visitors would see them record back-to-back wins for the first time since July, while also condemning Deportivo to a fourth defeat in their last five league outings.



AC Milan vs. Juventus, Saturday, 5pm

Serie A table

The two most successful clubs in Italian football history will duke it out at San Siro on Saturday as AC Milan host Juventus looking to gain ground on the leading pack.

Milan's midweek victory over Chievo was their first in their last five outings across all competitions, and should they overcome the champions then it would be back-to-back wins for the first time in more than a month.

Juventus have won the last six Serie A titles - an unprecedented level of dominance in Italian football - but they have work to do if they are to make it a magnificent seven on the bounce having dropped five points already this season.

Leaders Napoli are only three points above the Old Lady heading into this weekend, though, meaning that victory for Juventus at San Siro would see them climb to the top of the table temporarily.

Massimiliano Allegri will return to his former club having seen Juve hit top form over the past week, scoring 10 goals in two matches including a 6-2 drubbing of Udinese despite playing the vast majority of the contest with only 10 men.

Milan have only won one of the last 13 meetings inside 90 minutes across all competitions, but that was in this corresponding fixture last season when Manuel Locatelli scored the only goal of the game.



Sao Paulo vs. Santos, Saturday, 8pm

City rivals Sao Paulo and Santos will renew acquaintances on Saturday with the hosts languishing towards the wrong end of the table and bidding to land a big blow to their visitors' title hopes.

Sao Paulo currently sit 14th in the Brazilian Serie A, with only four points separating them from the relegation zone - although they are also just one point adrift of the Copa Sudamericana places.

Santos, on the other hand, are only six points off leaders Corinthians and would cut that gap to three temporarily at least with victory in the Sao-San derby, keeping their title hopes alive with only eight games of the season remaining.

Santos finished as runners-up last season, but they have not won the title since 2004 and last year were overtaken by Palmeiras as the most successful Brazilian Serie A club.

Sao Paulo themselves have lifted the title three times since Santos' last triumph, and at home they are unbeaten in their last six outings, including three consecutive victories.

Santos have won the last four Serie A meetings between the two clubs and have won just one of the last eight clashes across all competitions to earn the bragging rights in recent times.



Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur, Saturday, 12.30pm

Premier League top 3

Manchester City's two closest challengers face off in Saturday's early Premier League kickoff when Manchester United host Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.

United are looking to bounce back from their first league defeat of the season last weekend, when they were surprisingly beaten by Huddersfield Town, leaving them five points adrift of City and allowing Spurs to draw level with them.

Jose Mourinho's side did return to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Swansea City in the EFL Cup, one day before Tottenham saw their own good form halted when they let a two-goal lead slip at home to bitter rivals West Ham United.

Tottenham were unbeaten in 11 matches prior to that EFL Cup exit, while in the Premier League Spurs have won their last four matches including last weekend's impressive 4-1 victory over Liverpool.

This match pits a perfect home record against a perfect away record, with United having won all of their Premier League games at Old Trafford without conceding a single goal while Spurs have taken 12 points from a possible 12 on their travels.

The last five editions of this match have been won by the home team, and Tottenham are without a victory at Old Trafford since New Year's Day in 2014.



Bayern Munich vs. RB Leipzig, Saturday, 5.30pm

Bundesliga table

This weekend sees last season's top two go head to head in the Bundesliga as Bayern Munich host RB Leipzig at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern have overcome a difficult start to the season which saw them sack Carlo Ancelotti and bring back Jupp Heynckes, but a return to form under their former treble-winning boss has lifted them back joint top of the table alongside Borussia Dortmund.

Leipzig are once again not far behind, though, also winning six of their opening nine Bundesliga games to sit just one point behind the leading duo.

These two sides also faced off in the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday, when Bayern came from behind to force penalties and progress via a shootout at the Red Bull Arena.

Both clubs are unbeaten in their last five matches inside normal time across all competitions, but all three of Leipzig's defeats so far this term have come on their travels. Bayern, on the other hand, have won five of their six home games this season, scoring 20 goals in the process.

This fixture saw 12 goals fly in across the two league meetings last season, with Bayern cruising to a 3-0 win at the Allianz Arena before edging a 5-4 thriller in May.



Zenit St Petersburg vs. Lokomotiv Moscow, Sunday, 1.30pm

Russian Super League table

The top two in the Russian Premier League face off this weekend, with nothing separating the sides at the summit of the table.

Both clubs are locked on 29 points apiece, four points clear of CSKA Moscow, despite Zenit having lost just once all season and boasting the league's best attack and defence.

Lokomotiv, by contrast, have already been beaten three times in the league this season, although Zenit's five draws have allowed the Moscow outfit to draw level as they search for a first title since 2002.

Zenit have only lost one of their last 13 matches inside normal time, but they are winless in their last three league outings including a goalless draw with Lokomotiv's city rivals CSKA last time out.

Lokomotiv have only lost one of their last six, but away from home it is a different story with only one win from their last six games on the road.

Lokomotiv have also only won one of the last 13 meetings with Zenit across all competitions, while you have to go back to 2004 for their most recent victory in St Petersburg.



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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp watches on during the Premier League clash at Old Trafford on January 15, 2017
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