In Brazil, Mexico, the USA and Japan, emotions will be running high with their championships entering the closing stages, while in Argentina, Australia and South Africa, it is now or never for a number of title contenders. previews this weekend's action in some of the main leagues outside Europe.

Argentinian Apertura: Logjam at the top
Matchday 13 has several big fixtures, with joint-leaders Newell's Old Boys hosting struggling River Plate, who are in dire need of points if they want to qualify for the Copa Libertadores 2010.

Boca Juniors are in a similar situation, and will need a home win against third-placed Colon if they are to keep their title credentials alive. Level on points with Colon are reigning champions Velez Sarsfield, who travel to fifth-placed Estudiantes.

High stakes: Banfield, the league leaders and only remaining unbeaten side, will face another stiff test as they go to San Lorenzo, who lie in sixth, just three points behind El Taladro. "Winning at San Lorenzo would definitely put us among the title contenders," said midfielder Walter Ervitti.

Players to watch: In his last game, Colon forward Federico Nieto scored a hat-trick against his former club Huracan, and currently lies second in the top scorers' charts with ten goals. Can he maintain this fine form against Boca at the Bombonera?

Brasileirao: Opportunity knocks
With four rounds of matches to go, Palmeiras can go two points clear at the top after title rivals Sao Paulo drew 1-1 at Gremio in the early game. But O Verdão will not have it easy, as they travel to the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro to take on Fluminense, who remain in the relegation zone. Meanwhile, Internacional and Cruziero will be going all out for wins at Sport Recife and Barueri respectively.

High stakes: Third-placed Atletico Mineiro host Flamengo, just one place behind them, with both seeking a win that would keep them in the race for the title.  
Players to watch: The league's two top scorers, Atletico Mineiro's Diego Tardelli (18 goals) and Flamengo's Adriano (17), will shoot it out in Belo Horizonte.

Mexico: For a place in the Liguilla
After matchday 15, which was played in midweek, Monarcas Morelia joined Toluca among the teams qualified for the end-of-season Liguilla (title play-offs). With three rounds of fixtures to go before the end of the preliminary stage, six places remain up for grabs.

To remain in the hunt, Atlas and Guadalajara will both be gunning for victory as the meet in Group 1. Both will have an interest in what happens in the match between second-placed Real San Luis and Santos Laguna, who lie second in Group 3. In that same section, Cruz Azul lead the way and will be in control of their own destiny when they take on Puebla, who still have a chance to qualify from Group 2. In turn, Atlante will be looking for favourable results from the aforementioned two matches as they visit out-of-contention Tigres.  

High stakes: America and Monterrey will face off in Mexico City in a vital game for the pair's qualification aspirations, although both could end up progressing to the Liguilla anyway due to their high points tally.
Players to watch: Toluca's 20-year-old winger, Nestor Calderon, has been linked with a move to England. Can he once again show his quality against Pachuca?

J.League: Tight at the top
The tournament resumes after a two-week break and this weekend the title contenders have what look like winnable games: leaders Kawasaki Frontale take on JEF United, who look doomed to relegation; second-placed Kashima Antlers host Montedio Yamagata (13th); Gamba Osaka, in third, welcome mid-table Kyoto Purple Sanga, while fourth-placed Shimizu S-Pulse travel to struggling Kashiwa Reysol.

The top four are separated by just five points with just four matchdays to go.

High stakes: At lot is at stake for fifth-placed FC Tokyo (already six points off the pace) as they take on the Urawa Red Diamonds, who, in eighth, are out of the title race.
Players to watch: Having scored just once in their last three games, Kashima Antlers will need last season's top scorer Marquinhos more then ever if their are to win their third title in a row.   

The South African Premiership reaches its halfway point with just six points between the top six teams. On paper, Supersport United and Ajax Cape Town, lying first and second, have the most favourable fixtures, as they take on second-bottom AmaZulu and third-bottom Mpumalanga Black Aces respectively. Third-placed Santos and fourth-placed Mamelodi Sundowns should have a harder time of it, as they meet respective mid-table teams Maritzburg United and Golden Arrows. The most evenly-balanced tie of matchday 15 sees Orlando Pirates, in sixth, take on a Bloemfontein Celtic side just one place above them.   

The Australian A-League has two vital fixtures this weekend, as teams from the top four square off against each other. Frontrunners Sydney FC will need to be on top of their game as they travel to third-placed Gold Coast United, while second-placed Melbourne Victory host the team who have conceded the fewest goals, Central Coast Mariners.

Finally, in American Major League Soccer this weekend, the three remaining semi-finalists will be decided, after Real Salt Lake qualified at the expense of Columbus Crew. Salt Lake will now play the winner of the matchup between Chicago Fire and New England Revolution, who won 2-1 in the first leg in Massachusetts. Everything is still to play for on the other side of the draw, with both first legs having ended all square: Houston Dynamo will host the Seattle Sounders after a 0-0 stalemate in Seattle, while Los Angeles Galaxy are at home to Chivas USA after the pair played out a 2-2 draw in the first leg.