Brazil, Peru and Zimbabwe stage derbies this weekend, while the pursuers aim to reel in the pacesetters in Japan and Singapore. With an intriguing calendar in the USA, FIFA.com previews the forthcoming action outside Europe.
Brasileirao: Clássicos calling
One hundred years and one day after their rivalry began, Gremio and Internacional will fight it out at the Olimpico. O Tricolor Gaúcho sit eighth and have Tcheco and Souza in form, while runners-up Inter rely heavily on Taison and Nilmar.
Another derby will involve off-form Sao Paulo taking on mid-table Santos, while across the state third-placed Palmeiras will host Santo Andre. Meanwhile, frontrunners Atletico Mineiro will visit fourth-placed Vitoria.
High stakes: Arch-rivals Atletico Paranaense and Coritiba, 12th and 14th respectively, will contest Atletiba.
Players to watch: Kleber will be eager to help Cruzeiro respond positively from defeat in the Copa Libertadores final against Corinthians, for whom Ronaldo has scored five times in his last three appearances.
Peruvian Primera Division: Giants duel in Lima
A pair of the country's three most successful clubs will collide when free-scoring Sporting Cristal, in tenth, entertain leaders Universitario. Veteran striker Hector Hurtado will be out to satisfy the home crowd, but crafty 34-year-old Nolberto Solano will attempt to undo his former employers.
Sport Huancayo, Juan Aurich and Alianza Lima, all six points of the pace, are at home to Universidad Cesar Vallejo, Coronel Bolognesi and San Martin respectively.
High stakes: Colegio Nacional de Iquitos and Alianza Atletico, 13th and 14th respectively in the 16-team division, will be determined to ease their relegation fears when they meet.
Players to watch: Alianza ace Johnnier Montano, who played for Colombia as a 15-year-old, and San Martin goal-getter Martin Arzuaga could dictate the outcome of their encounter.
American Major League Soccer: High-flyers go head-to-head
Toronto FC, level on points with Eastern Conference leaders Chicago Fire, will entertain West Conference pacesetters Houston Dynamo looking to reverse the 3-0 defeat they suffered in their first meeting of this campaign.
The Fire will host San Jose Earthquakes, who are bottom of the opposite section. DC United and Columbus Crew, both one point off the pace in the east, will welcome Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake respectively.
High stakes: Three points would resuscitate New England Revolution's play-off hopes, but Chivas USA will be determined to inflict defeat upon them and move second in the Western Conference.
Players to watch: All eyes will be on midfielder Dwayne De Rosario, whom TFC signed from Dynamo, but USA midfielder Ricardo Clark will be out to spoil the Canadian's afternoon.
Japanese J.League: Can Shimizu halt the charge?
Kashima Antlers are threatening to run away with a third straight crown. Shinzo Koroki, Marquinhos and Co will be examined when the second half of the season kicks off, though, at a sixth-placed Shimizu S-Pulse side for whom Shinji Okazaki and Frode Johnsen have radiated of late.
Urawa Red Diamonds, eights points back in second, visit Oita Trinita, who, with Ranko Popovic making his debut at the reins, will attempt to avoid a 15th straight defeat. Albirex Niigata, in third, are away to a Yokohama Marinos team looking for their first win in four games.
High stakes: Interim coach Masami Ihara will take charge of second-bottom Kashiwa Reysol at home to eighth-placed Gamba Osaka.
Players to watch: In-form Hisato Sato will be eager to turn it on against his old club JEF United, who will task Masaki Fukai with shooting them to maximum points.
Zimbabwean Premier Soccer League: Harare derbies
Cuthbert Malajila has struck five times in his last three games to send Dynamos four points clear of Gunners at the summit, and unseat Norman Maroto atop of the scoring chart. The pacy Zimbabwe striker will now look to make Harare rivals Black Rhinos, in the penultimate position, his latest victims.
Gunners will visit fellow capital outfit Motor Action, who have drawn seven matches in succession and 12 in 16 this term, while Highlanders, the competition's second-most successful side, will go fourth if they beat lowly Bantu Rovers.
High stakes: Seven points adrift of the Rhinos, tailenders Underhill will seek only their second win of the season at home to Shooting Stars.
Players to watch: In a battle of strugglers, Sundowns will charge the prolific Evans Chikwaikwai with firing them to success against a visiting Highway side spearheaded by Taurai Makukutu.
With S-League leaders Singapore Armed Forces inactive, their two closest rivals will square off. The skillful Ridhuan Muhammad will be central to runners-up Tampines Rovers achieving a victory that would leave them four points off the pace, while third-placed Gombak United's chief threat will be posed by Agu Casmir.