European Look Ahead: Reds vs. Red Devils, Bundesliga race heats up & more

European Look Ahead: Reds vs. Red Devils, Bundesliga race heats up & more

European Soccer

European Look Ahead: Reds vs. Red Devils, Bundesliga race heats up & more

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LiverpoolUnited (Getty Images)

By JOHN BOSCHINI

Liverpool must be getting tired of Manchester.

Kenny Dalglish and Co. face off against a Manchester side for the seventh time this season when United and Liverpool clash in a match full of significance. Manchester United are trying to survive a brutal run of fixtures and keep pace with their cross-town rivals. Liverpool drew with United 1-1 when the teams met in October and subsequently knocked United out of the FA Cup on Jan. 28.

Luis Suarez is back to bolster Liverpool's attack as they sit only four points off a UEFA Champions League spot and could jump as high as fifth place with a win.

Some distance might open up at the top of the German table as fourth-placed Borussia Monchengladbach welcomes third-place Schalke. First and fourth are still only separated by three points.

Here is a look ahead to all the action in Europe's top leagues.

ENGLAND

It will be interesting to see how Tottenham will respond to the constant rumors surrounding manager Harry Redknapp's imminent departure. Spurs won't be able to coast by an easy opponent, as fifth-place Newcastle comes to town with the realistic goal of a Champions League berth on their minds. Everton also welcome Chelsea as the Toffees try to extend their unbeaten run to six games.

SATURDAY

Manchester United vs. Liverpool, 7:45 a.m.
Blackburn Rovers vs. Queens Park Rangers, 10 a.m. 
Bolton Wanderers vs. Wigan Athletic, 10 a.m. 
Everton vs. Chelsea, 10 a.m. 
Fulham vs. Stoke City, 10 a.m. 
Sunderland vs. Arsenal, 10 a.m. 
Swansea City vs. Norwich City, 10 a.m. 
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Newcastle United, 12 p.m.

SUNDAY

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. West Bromwich Albion, 8:30 a.m.
Aston Villa vs. Manchester City, 11 a.m.

SPAIN

Real Madrid face on their tougher challenges of the season when fourth-placed Levante arrives at the Bernabeau. Real Madrid have outscored their opponents 41-13 at home this season, with their only loss coming against Barcelona.

SATURDAY

Racing Santander vs. Athletico Madrid, 12 p.m.
Osasuna vs. Barcelona, 2 p.m.
Real Betis vs. Athletic Bilbao, 4 p.m.

SUNDAY

Espanyol vs. Real Zaragoza, 6 a.m.
Malaga vs. Mallorca, 10 a.m.
Rayo Vallecano vs. Getafe, 10 a.m.
Valencia vs. Sporting Gijon, 12 p.m.
Villareal vs.Granada, 1:45 p.m.
Real Madrid vs. Levante, 3:30 p.m.

GERMANY

Borussia Dortmund have pushed their way into a narrow lead in the Bundesliga. On paper, the home side should have their hands full, but behind the scenes turmoil at Leverkusen could affect the team's performance on the field. The team waiting for Dortmund to slip up, Bayern Munich, should have no problem in a home game against relegation-threatened Kaiserslautern. The two teams directly both Dortmund and Munich, Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach, do battle in another meeting with major table implications as well.

FRIDAY

VfL Wolfsburg vs. SC Freiburg, 2:30 p.m.

SATURDAY

Bayern Munich vs. Kaiserslautern, 9:30 a.m.
Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayer Leverkusen, 9:30 a.m.
Mainz vs. Hannover 96, 9:30 a.m.
VfB Stuttgart vs. Hertha Berlin, 9:30 a.m.
Werder Bremen vs. TSG Hoffenheim, 9:30 a.m.
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Schalke 04, 12:30 p.m.

SUNDAY

FC Augsburg vs. Nurnberg, 9:30 a.m.
FC Cologne vs. Hamburg SV, 11:30 a.m.

ITALY

A point behind a Juventus side which has a game in hand, AC Milan's against Udinese is Saturday carries plenty of weight. Udinese are four points off the lead and only a single point off the Champions League places. Despite being the only unbeaten side in Europe, Juventus needs to start stringing wins together in order to solidify their first-place status.

SATURDAY

Udinese vs. AC Milan, 12 p.m.
Cagliari vs. Palermo, 2:45 p.m.

SUNDAY

Atalanta vs. Lecce, 9 a.m. 
Catania vs. Genoa, 9 a.m. 
Inter Milan vs. Novara, 9 a.m. 
Parma vs. Fiorentina, 9 a.m. 
Bologna vs. Juventus, 2:45 p.m.

MONDAY

Napoli vs. Chievo Verona, 2:45 p.m.
Siena vs. AS Roma, 2:45 p.m.

FRANCE

It should be smooth sailing in France as the top six teams avoid playing each other. Marseille will be unable to keep pace with the top four as their game with Evian Thonon Gaillard was called off. The Rennes-Sochaux match could have the return of Charlie Davies to action, after the American striker was named tot he matchday roster for the first time since returning to the club.

SATURDAY

AJ Auxerre vs. Lorient, 9 a.m. 
Evian Thonon Gaillard vs. Marseille, postponed
Lyon vs. Caen, 9 a.m. 
Montpellier vs. AC Ajaccio, 9 a.m. 
Valenciennes vs. AS Nancy Lorraine, 9 a.m. 
Brest vs. Dijon FCO, 1 p.m.
Stade Rennes vs. Sochaux, 3 p.m.

SUNDAY

Lille vs. Bordeaux, 9 a.m.
Nice vs. Paris St.-Germain, 11 a.m.
Toulouse vs. St. Etienne, 3 p.m.

NETHERLANDS

FC Twente are in third place heading into the weekend but can jump into first with a win over SC Heracles Almelo. Ajax are floundering in sixth place and need a win against NAC Breda to turn their fortunes around. Ajax's road form could prove a problem as they have won only five of 11 games on the road.

FRIDAY

FC Twente vs. SC Heracles Almelo, 2 p.m.

SATURDAY

AZ Alkmaar vs. Excelsior, 12:45 p.m.
Roda JC Kerkrade vs. NEC Nijmegan, 1:45 p.m.
VVV Venlo vs. FC Groningen, 1:45 p.m.
NAC Breda vs. Ajax, 2:45 p.m.

SUNDAY

FC Utrecht vs. ADO Den Haag, 6:30 a.m.
PSV Eindhoven vs. De Graafschap, 8:30 a.m.
RKC Waalwijk vs. Heerenveen, 8:30 a.m.
Feyenoord Rotterdam vs. Vitesse Arnhem, 10:30 a.m.

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What do you think of this weekend's games? Exicted for United vs. Liverpool? Can AC Milan keep pace in Serie A? Does the close title race make you more interested in the Bundesliga as a whole?

Share your thoughts below.

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