Europe ready to roll again

With the South Africa 2010 qualifying race momentarily on hold, the old continent gets back to domestic duty on what promises to be an intriguing weekend. marks your card with its customary weekly preview of all the action.

Premier League: United with ground to make up
Alex Ferguson takes his Manchester United side to Liverpool on Saturday for the latest instalment of one of English football's greatest rivalries. The Scotsman certainly knows all about winning at Anfield, having tasted success there regularly in recent seasons. Rafael Benitez will not need to remind his team about the threat posed by Wayne Rooney, who opened his account for the season in England's win in Croatia.

Liverpool currently lie second on goal difference behind Chelsea, who face a stern test themselves at big-spending Manchester City. Mark Hughes's side will be expecting big things from debutant Robinho after prising the mercurial Brazilian from the London club's grasp just minutes before the recent transfer window closed.

The question: Will the Red Devils emerge unbeaten from Anfield once more? Their record of five wins and a draw in their last six visits to Liverpool's fortress is the best in the Premier League.
The big game: Liverpool-Manchester United, Anfield, Saturday 13 September, 12.45 BST.
The quote: "On the day he signed, I was just watching the television and the news came up. I just laughed really. Having him around - it's just bizarre, a bit surreal," Manchester City captain Richard Dunne on Robinho.

La Liga: Barca and Real out to make amends
After starting the season on a losing note, Spain's big two need to get back to winning ways quickly if they are to allay their supporters' fears. Home advantage should help them in their task, with the Catalans receiving a visit from Racing Santander and the holders taking on Numancia at the Bernabeu.

As Pep Guardiola and Bernd Schuster would no doubt agree, it is hard to draw conclusions after just one game. That said, Almeria laid down an impressive marker in winning 3-1 win at Athletic Bilbao, and Sunday's home meeting with a resurgent Valencia should tell us a lot more about their true potential.

The question: Who will score Real Madrid's 5,000th goal in the Spanish league?
The big game: Almeria-Valencia, Estadio Mediterraneo, Sunday 14 September, 21.00 CET.
The quote: "We played really badly against Numancia and we've got no excuses for that. Even so, we can't start questioning ourselves just because of one defeat. What we need to do is make sure we don't make the same mistakes," Seydou Keita, Barcelona midfielder.

Serie A: Big four waiting to fire
After failing to prevail on the first day of the campaign, AS Roma, Inter Milan, Juventus and AC Milan will be anxious to get their first wins this week. The Giallorossi and the Rossoneri face awkward trips to Palermo and Genoa respectively, with Kaka aiming to make a return for the Milan giants alongside new signings Ronaldinho and Andriy Shevchenko. Coach Carlo Ancelotti, for one, has no doubts the gifted Brazilian's presence can galvanise his team.

Inter boss Jose Mourinho has a full roster of star names to choose from for Catania's visit to the Giuseppe Meazza, while Juve will need to find a way to contain the free-scoring Antonio di Natale when he and his Udinese team-mates run out in Turin for the first crunch clash of the season.

The question: Can Antonio di Natale follow up his brace on the opening day of the season and a goalscoring performance for Italy last Saturday by getting on the scoresheet again?
The big game: Juventus-Udinese, Stadio Olimpico, Sunday 14 September, 20.30 CET.
The quote: "I don't think we're dreaming here. There's a project we all need to work together on and that's playing good football and winning," Massimo Ambrosini, AC Milan midfielder.

Bundesliga: Ruhr duo ready for derby
It has been nearly 30 years since local rivals Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 locked horns with first place at stake. Both outfits have been through their ups and downs in that time but now find themselves tied on seven points with Hamburg at the top, all of which should make for an even more passionate encounter than usual.

There should be plenty more passion in store when fourth-placed Bayer Leverkusen travel to Hamburg, Stuttgart make the trip to early-season surprises Hoffenheim, and Lukas Podolski's Bayern Munich visit his old club Cologne.

The question: Can championship candidates Werder Bremen pick up their first win of the season when they entertain Energie Cottbus? Diego and his cohorts have registered two draws and a defeat in their first three matches.
The big game: Borussia Dortmund-Schalke 04, Signal Iduna Park, Saturday 13 September, 15.30 CET.
The quote: "There's a huge rivalry between the clubs, of course, and despite the exertions of the international matches I'm sure we'll be putting out a very strong side that will be up to the job of beating Schalke on Saturday," Sebastian Kehl, Borussia Dortmund defender.

Ligue 1: Bordeaux wait with bated breath
Having scored 11 goals to Lyon's six, Marseille find themselves at the top of the table ahead of their first major test of the season, Saturday's trip to Bordeaux, last term's runners-up. Hampered by the probable absence of Hatem Ben Arfa with a knee injury, Eric Gerets and his men will also need to keep a close eye on the in-form Yoann Gourcuff, who was hugely impressive on his first start for France in the week.

The title holders entertain a Nice side just one point off the lead in fourth place, with Lyon's Brazilian midfielder Ederson and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris coming face to face with their old team-mates. The final game of the weekend sees struggling Nantes travel to the Parc des Princes on Sunday evening to take on a revitalised Paris Saint-Germain.

The question: Will Elie Baup's arrival herald a change in Nantes's fortunes?
The big game: Bordeaux-Marseille, Stade Jacques Chaban-Delmas, Saturday 13 September, 21.00 CET.
The quote: "We need to bring that desire, that hunger for success back to PSG. We're on the way to doing that but we have to stick together now and not get carried away." Ludovic Giuly, PSG midfielder.

Matchday four in Belgium sees leaders Excelsior Mouscron defend their 100 per cent record against Gent, who lie second just two points off the pace. Tabletoppers Rangers and closest challengers Kilmarnock will play out a similar scenario in Scotland, with both sides tied on ten points. Over in Czech Republic, FC Brno have designs on wrestling Sparta Prague out of top spot when they square off, while in Russia, where the championship is well past the halfway mark, Rubin Kazan will be hoping to take a big step towards the title when they play host to second-placed Dynamo Moscow, who trail them by six points.