Football returns to southern Europe this weekend when the Italian, Greek and Spanish leagues restart after their summer breaks. There is also plenty of intriguing action to relish in the other top European leagues with a passionate derby taking place in France, the German champions looking for their first win and the top teams in England aiming to gain ground while champions Manchester United are involved in the UEFA European Super Cup final on Friday.
FIFA.com previews the pick of the games across the continent.
England: Tottenham hoping to break Chelsea curse
With Manchester United otherwise occupied this weekend, Chelsea will be hoping to extend the two-point advantage they already hold over the Red Devils when they meet north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. While the Blues under new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari have enjoyed the perfect start to the season, Juande Ramos and his charges at Tottenham are still waiting for their first point.
Liverpool are another side out to continue their solid start to the season when they visit Aston Villa on Saturday. Having won their two opening encounters, Liverpool are currently the only team alongside Chelsea to boast a 100-per cent record in the Premier League. Meanwhile, Arsenal will be keen to atone for their slip-up at Fulham last weekend when they host Kevin Keegan's Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium.
The question: Can Spurs record their first ever win at Stamford Bridge since the Premier League began in 1992?
The big match: Chelsea - Tottenham Hotspur, Sunday 14.30 BST, Stamford Bridge.
The quote: "We've made a great start and everybody at the club is feeling very positive," Frank Lampard, Chelsea midfielder
France: Lyon meet the neighbours
Despite being separated by only 60 kilometres, Lyon and Saint-Etienne share little in the way of neighbourly affection. Indeed, there is no love lost between the dominant French team in the 1970s and the usurpers from Lyon who have won the French title for the last seven seasons. Local bragging rights, in addition to the three points, will be at stake when the two teams meet on Sunday evening.
Two other high-fliers in Ligue 1, Bordeaux and Marseille, will be determined to maintain their lofty positions in the table going into the weekend's games. While Bordeaux travel to Lille, Marseille receive Sochaux with both opponents looking to record their first wins of the season.
The big question: Saint-Etienne have failed to beat Lyon at home since 1994. Will Lyon striker Frederic Piquionne, who spent three seasons with Les Verts, help to prolong his ex-club's wait for success against their arch-rivals on home soil?
The big game: Saint-Etienne - Lyon, Sunday 21:00 CET, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard
The quote: "I always went out in Lyon, did my shopping there and my agent came from Lyon too. I was born in Paris which is a big city like Lyon. I always felt myself to be more Lyonnais than someone from Saint-Etienne," Frederic Piquionne, Lyon forward
Germany: Impatient Klinsmann demands reaction
The wave of optimism that greeted Jurgen Klinsmann's arrival at Bayern Munich has been somewhat dulled by the champions' less-than-convincing start to the season. After two draws, the new coach has demanded his expensively-assembled team show their true colours when they host Hertha Berlin at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.
Schalke will want to get back to winning ways against Bochum after their 4-0 midweek loss to Atletico Madrid in midweek meant the Gelsenkirchen team missed out on a place in this season's UEFA Champions League. Werder Bremen will have the chance to unveil their new frontline of Diego and Claudio Pizarro when they take on Borussia Monchengladbach. Table-toppers Hoffenheim, who are playing in the Bundesliga for the first time, travel to Bayer Leverkusen.
The big question: Will Bayern finally manage to collect their first three -point haul of the new season?
The big game: Bayern Munich - Hertha Berlin, Sunday 17:00 CET, Allianz Arena
The quote: "We have plenty of patience," Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern Munich chairman.
Spain: Real and Barça kicking off away
After a glorious summer for the national side, domestic football returns to Spain this weekend with all eyes focused on an iconic member of Barcelona's 90s' Dream Team: Pep Guardiola. The new Azulgrana coach will be looking to thwart Real Madrid's aim of a third successive championship title - a task made harder by the Merengues acquisition of classy Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart. Barcelona start away to newly-promoted Numancia while Real travel north to meet Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.
Copa del Rey-winners Valencia start their campaign at home to Mallorca and will be optimistic they can prise the championship away from the big two - a feat they have managed twice in the last decade. Atletico Madrid, buoyed by their emphatic win over Schalke, take on Malaga at the Vicente Calderon while Sevilla and Villarreal both kick off with away games to Racing Santander and Osasuna respectively.
The big question: Will Guardiola be able to rouse Barcelona from their recent slumber with a winning start against Numancia?
The game: Deportivo La Coruna - Real Madrid, Sunday, 21:00 CET, Estadio Municipal de Riazor
The quote: "Lionel Messi is one of the best players in the world, but here it's the team, not the individual, that counts," Carles Puyol, Barcelona captain.
Italy: Fiorentina look to steal Old Lady's thunder
Following the arrival of Ronaldinho and Andriy Shevchenko at AC and the appointment of Jose Mourinho at Inter, much of the media interest has inevitably centered on the two Milan outfits. Fiorentina, however, will be aiming to grab some of the limelight when they host Juventus in the weekend's top Serie A game - an encounter featuring the two teams who finished fourth and third last season.
While Inter travel to Sampdoria on Saturday, AC Milan kick off at home to Bologna on Sunday. The Rossoneri should turn to their new signings to make up for the absence of Brazilian midfielder Kaka, currently sidelined with a knee injury. Roma, who harbour title ambitions of their own, face a tricky start to the season when they host Napoli at the Stadio Olimpico.
The big question: After only picking up one point from their two meetings with Fiorentina last season, will Juve stumble again in Florence?
The big game: Fiorentina - Juventus , Sunday, 20:30 CET, Stadio Artemio Franchi
The quote: " I've come here to win things," Ronaldinho, AC Milan forward.
The Greek Super League, which also begins at the weekend, gets straight down to business with the derby between Athens' rivals AEK and Panathinaikos, while in Portugal Benfica and Porto lock horns for the first time this season. Another mouth-watering prospect is the Glasgow derby on Sunday between Rangers and Celtic. In Russia, league leaders Rubin Kazan travel to third-placed Amkar Perm.
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