Derby fever grips Europe
Fresh from league or cup duties, and with another instalment of continental competition scheduled for next week, Europe's clubs hardly have time to breathe at the moment. This weekend promises little relief either, with fans in England, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine braced for a series of showdowns between local rivals.
In Germany, meanwhile, Bayern Munich will be desperate to erase memories of their heavy home loss to Werder Bremen, while Ligue 1 leaders Lyon will be aiming to march clear of their pursuers in the race for honours in France. FIFA.com previews the pick of the games from Europe's leading leagues this weekend.
Premier League: Expectant Gunners, hopeful Reds
Arsenal will not be expected to relinquish top spot when they entertain seventh-placed newcomers Hull City. A point back in second, Chelsea also have their sights set on victory against a promoted team, struggling Stoke City. The pick of the games twill take place in Liverpool, where Rafa Benitez's third-placed side will lock horns with their eternal rivals Everton, who hope to climb from ninth position. The visitors could will be hoping the fit-again Fernando Torres can provide their inspiration.
Elsewhere, Manchester United entertain lowly Bolton Wanderers. The champions are currently floundering in 15th, which at least puts them five places higher than a Tottenham Hotspur side desperate to collect their first win at Portsmouth.
The question: Having lost 6-0 to Manchester City last Sunday and 4-0 to Chelsea in midweek, will Portsmouth be able to stem the flow of goals?
The big game: Everton-Liverpool, Saturday 1.45pm CET, Goodison Park
The quote: "I told him it was better for him to leave like Eric Cantona, at a time when all the supporters love him. The stadium still sings Cantona's name. I told Cristiano: 'Leave a hero, like Eric,'" Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on Cristiano Ronaldo
La Liga: Madrid duo face Seville sides
Both in excellent form going forward, the two Madrid teams meet their rivals from Seville, with third-placed Real away at struggling Betis and fourth-placed Atletico at home to side directly below them, Sevilla. Sixth-placed Barcelona visit local rivals Espanyol, meanwhile, knowing their opponents will be anxious to bounce back from their first defeat of the season on Wednesday.
Villarreal, unbeaten in second, will take on rock-bottom Sporting Gijon. The newcomers have faced Getafe, Sevilla, Barcelona and Real so far this term, only to come away with four straight defeats and 19 goals conceded, including seven at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
The question: Having recently struck his 99th and 100th goals for Barça, will Samuel Eto'o find a way past Cameroonian compatriot Carlos Kameni for his 101st against Espanyol?
The big game: Atletico Madrid-Sevilla, Sunday 9pm CET, Estadio Vicente Calderon
The quote: "I still have the same hunger to win and help the team. I'm delighted and now I hope to reach 200 goals for Barcelona," Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o
Serie A: A century of Milanese duels
Strident headlines and emphatic superlatives have consistently preceded Milan derbies over the last 100 years, and that has again been the case as the two neighbours prepare to begin a second centenary of their unique rivalry. Currently ninth, AC Milan 'host' Inter Milan after finally hitting a vein of form. Carlo Ancelotti's troops have won their last two games and hope to continue their renaissance against the unbeaten pacesetters, but both sides know statistics and points on the board will count for nothing once the referee blows for kick-off.
Among the other matches on the fixture list, second-placed Lazio travel to Torino, while Juventus, in fifth, ought to brace themselves for a genuine test at 17th-placed Sampdoria. Roma lie in 14th after suffering a fresh defeat at Genoa, and they cannot afford another setback when they welcome third-placed Atalanta.
The question: Who will triumph in the 171st Derby Della Madonnina to be contested in Serie A?
The big game: AC Milan-Inter, Sunday 8.30pm CET, San Siro
The quote: "Milan deserve respect. They've improved and it will be a very tough game, as always. But I think Inter will be ready," Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti
Ligue 1: Lyon confident, Marseille wary
Only six rounds of matches have been contested so far, but already Lyon boast a lead of four points over their closest rivals, Marseille. That is unprecedented, even for the seven-time champions, and their goal on Saturday will be to extend the cushion further at home to 13th-placed Nancy. For their part, Marseille face a tricky trip to fourth-placed Le Mans, having drawn their last two Ligue 1 outings, lost their UEFA Champions League opener and tasted defeat in the League Cup. Adding to the size of their task, OM have also failed to score on their last four excursions to the Sarthe region.
Fellow title aspirants Bordeaux, sixth, and Paris Saint-Germain, seventh, both enjoy home advantage, with Saint-Etienne and Grenoble their respective visitors. At the bottom, basement side Sochaux will attempt to leapfrog 17th-placed visitors Lorient.
The question: Who will end up boasting the title of France's last unbeaten team? Lyon and Marseille are the only sides yet to have suffered a reverse this term.
The big game: Le Mans-Marseille, Saturday 7pm CET, Stade Leon-Bollee
The quote: "We're not clinical enough in front of goal. We get chances but we're not capable of putting them away. I hope we'll be able to change that," Marseille coach Eric Gerets
Bundesliga: Bayern rediscover 'hope'
Monsieur Hoffnung (Mr. Hope) - that is how the German press have christened Franck Ribery as the Frenchman prepares to make his first league appearance of the season. Having recovered from an ankle injury, the playmaker intends to inspire eighth-placed Bayern to success at 14th-placed Hannover, thus helping everyone at the club forget last Saturday's stunning 5-2 reverse at home to Werder Bremen.
At the top of the pile, Schalke are enjoying their lead and hope to extend it at 13th-placed Cologne on Friday, while surprise high-flyers Hoffenheim, in second, can expect a thorough examination at seventh-placed Werder. At the opposite end of the table, 17th-placed Eintracht Frankfurt host Bielefeld, while the team below them, Energie Cottbus, will set out in search of their first three points at Hertha Berlin.
The question: Travelling to face Bochum, can Bayer Leverkusen maintain their impressive goalscoring average of three strikes per game?
The big game: Hannover-Bayern Munich, Saturday 3.30pm CET, AWD-Arena
The quote: "I hope to be 100 per cent fit against Lyon in the Champions League, but before that I'll try and have a good game against Hannover. I'm confident. Everything will be fine," Bayern Munich playmaker Franck Ribery
Round 4 in Portugal will offer up a mouth-watering derby, with Sporting hosting seventh-placed Benfica. The runners-up can surge seven points clear of their Lisbon rivals if they manage to carve out a win, while fellow giants Porto take on unfancied side Pacos de Ferreira. The champions lie sixth after struggling to get their season off to the right start, but must fancy their chances against the team occupying 13th spot in the table.
Lastly, the city of Donetsk in Ukraine is also gearing up for a dramatic local encounter. Unusually, it is Metalurh who are setting the early pace, eight games into the Premier League season, but Shakhtar hope to use home advantage over their neighbours to climb from 11th position.
AC Milan-Inter Milan, Portsmouth-Tottenham Hotspur and Espanyol-Barcelona are among the matches on the FIFA World Leagues Predictor's Round 6 menu. If you haven't already, be sure to sign up and take a shot at winning this weekend's prize.