Trio closing in on glory
© AFP

All that remains to be decided in Italy and Spain is when and not if Inter Milan and Barcelona will be crowned champions, while Manchester United remain in command of the English Premier League. The same cannot be said of the title races in Germany and France, where Wolfsburg and Marseille hold narrow advantages over their pursuers. The Bundesliga leaders face a stiff test at Stuttgart on Saturday, while all eyes in France will be on the cup final, with l'OM and their title adversaries enjoying a welcome day off.

As the season's end approaches, FIFA.com looks ahead to the weekend's encounters in Europe's major leagues.

Premier League: Derbies north and south
Manchester United remain on course to become league champions for the third season running. Still three points ahead of Liverpool and with a game in hand, the men from Old Trafford nevertheless have a couple of awkward hurdles left to negotiate, starting with Sunday's derby against Manchester City. The 115th meeting between the two promises to be an intriguing one. Sir Alex Ferguson's side will be in buoyant mood after reaching the UEFA Champions League final earlier this week, while Mark Hughes' men have won their last three games. And while Robinho and Co have little left to play for this season, a chance to halt United's title charge will give them all the motivation they need.

Arsenal and Chelsea could be forgiven for thinking about what might have been when they go head to head at the Emirates Stadium. The two London giants saw their European hopes evaporate in the week, albeit in contrasting fashions. The Gunners have the incentive of closing to within three points of their opponents if they win, while Guus Hiddink's sole remaining objective of the season is their forthcoming FA Cup final against Everton. Elsewhere, Liverpool cannot afford to drop points when they travel to West Ham if they are to maintain any chance of snatching the title from Manchester United.

The question: Who will emerge victorious from the do-or-die relegation duel between Newcastle United and Middlesbrough?
The big game: Manchester United-Manchester City, Sunday 10 May, 13.30 CET, Old Trafford
The quote: "We are unbeaten in our last 21 [league] games. That shows we've made progress. Even so, fourth is not enough for Arsenal," Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas.

La Liga: Barcelona on the brink
After closing the gap on Barcelona in recent weeks, Real Madrid's title challenge came to an abrupt end last Saturday. The Catalans' stunning 6-2 win at a disbelieving Bernabeu put them seven points clear at the top, and the championship will be officially theirs this weekend if they can see off faltering Villarreal at the Camp Nou and Real lose at home to a Valencia side pushing for a Champions League place.

The brace of top-of-the-table clashes could benefit Sevilla in third and Atletico in fifth. The Andalusians play host to Mallorca, who made sure of their first-division status last week, while Atleti are at home to a resurgent Espanyol. Down at the bottom meanwhile, new Getafe boss Michel will be hoping for better luck after kicking off his reign with defeat last week. Los Azulones have lost their last four games and the former Real Madrid legend will be anxious to end that worrying sequence at home to relegation rivals Osasuna.

The question: After last week's humbling at the hands of Barça, can Real Madrid regroup against Valencia?
The big game: Barcelona-Villarreal, Sunday 10 May, 19.00 CET, Camp Nou
The quote: "The coach has put his faith in me and I'm only sad I haven't been able to respond to that. I hope I can repay him by scoring at the Nou Camp," Villarreal striker Nihat.

Serie A: Inter almost home and dry
Having spent the entire season ahead of the field, Inter Milan can now see the chequered flag coming into view. I Nerazzurri will make the scudetto theirs yet again if they bring back three points from their trip to Chievo Verona and the chasing Milan go down to Juventus in the day's big match. Such an outcome looks unlikely, however. Juve have lost their way recently, drawing four and losing one in their last five outings, while the unstoppable Rossoneri have taken maximum points over the same period.

The tussle for the fourth and final qualifying place for next season's Champions League between Fiorentina and Genoa continues on Saturday. La Viola, in fourth, head to Catania, while Gian Piero Gasperini's side travel to Bergamo to take on Atalanta.

The question: Will Inter be celebrating their fourth title in a row this weekend?
The big game: Milan-Juventus, Sunday 10 May, 20.30 CET, San Siro
The quote: "We have to hold on to third place. We are in danger of spoiling a league season that was brilliant up until a month ago," Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri.

Bundesliga: Stuttgart and Wolfsburg aiming high
Ninth and tenth at the halfway point of the season, Wolfsburg and Stuttgart have been in irrepressible form since the midwinter break, amassing 34 and 30 points respectively to stake compelling claims for the title. The top two sides of 2009 meet on Saturday with leaders Wolfsburg still digesting the news of coach Felix Magath's departure for Schalke next season. Fourth-placed Stuttgart were relieved to hear that Markus Babbel will be staying with them next term and will be hoping to capitalise on any instability in the Wolfsburg camp and close the gap to two points.

Should they slip up, Wolfsburg could well be joined at the top by Bayern Munich, who travel to Cottbus the same day. With Energie recently ending Wolfsburg's ten-game winning run, however, Jupp Heynckes' side will need to be on their guard. Former frontrunners Hertha Berlin, who now lie third, still entertain hopes of beating everyone to the line and welcome back goalscorer Andriy Voronin for the visit of Bochum.

The question: Having slipped down to ninth after going 12 games without a win, can Hoffenheim end their slide against Cologne?
The big game: Stuttgart-Wolfsburg, Saturday 9 May, 15.30 CET, Mercedez-Benz Arena
The quote: "We have four games to go and after that we will have plenty of time to be sad about the departure of our coach," Wolfsburg midfielder Zvjezdan Misimovic.

Elsewhere
With Ligue 1 taking a break this weekend, the French Cup final between Brittany rivals Rennes and Guingamp takes centre stage. Les Rouges et Noirs are favourites to claim the trophy for the third time in their history, while their second-division opponents are aiming to win their very first piece of silverware.

There is an exciting end to the season in store in Belgium. With just two games remaining, leaders Anderlecht and their closest challengers Standard Liege are locked together on 71 points. Should the high-flying duo obtain maximum points in their respective home games against lowly Roeselare and third-placed Club Bruges, the prospect of a two-legged championship decider will loom even larger.