Despite many of the world's top leagues being in recess at present, it is business as usual this weekend in the likes of Brazil, Japan and the USA. As ever, is here to bring you up to speed with a look ahead to the weekend's action.

Brasileirao: Flamengo out for more
Despite losing 1-0 to Coritiba last night, Brazil's most popular club have been enjoying a fine run of form in recent weeks and will be looking to continue in that vein this weekend with the visit of Vitoria to the Maracana. As outright leaders in the national championship, the Carioca side will fancy their chances, but Vitoria have been this season's revelation and will be looking for a return to winning ways after losing their last two matches.

The big game: Cruzeiro and Gremio, second and third respectively, cross swords in a must-see showdown in Porto Alegre this Saturday. Even without home advantage, the Belo Horizonte outfit will not be lacking in confidence after back-to-back victories, including one over arch-rivals Atletico Mineiro.
Player to watch: Alex Mineiro, one of three players topping the goal-scoring charts with seven strikes, could be vital again this weekend for fourth-placed Palmeiras on their trip to Goias.

American Major League Soccer: Galaxy eye return to summit
LA Galaxy's meeting with New York Red Bulls presents them with a good opportunity to make up the one point that separates them from Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake. After only drawing with Chivas USA last weekend, Landon Donovan's side will be hoping for timely return to winning ways and perhaps even a slip-up by the leaders to help them regain top spot.

The big game: Western Conference pacesetters Real Salt Lake have a testing fixture against Chicago Fire, themselves third in the Eastern section and anxious to rein in leaders New England Revolution.
Player to watch: David Beckham picked up the award for Best MLS Player 2008 in midweek, due in no small part to his five goals and seven assists so far this season. Will he give another prize-winning performance this weekend for the Galaxy against New York Red Bulls?

J League: Urawa and Kashima continue apace
The fierce battle for top spot between Urawa Red Diamonds and Kashima Antlers shows no sign of letting up. This weekend, the Reds will be hoping to retain the lead they retook in midweek when they welcome sixth-placed Kawasaki Frontale. The defending champions, for their part, fully intend to keep the pressure on by taking all three points from their trip to off-form Yokohama F Marinos.

The big games: Just behind the top two, three sides - Kashiwa Reysol, Gamba Osaka and Nagoya Grampus Eight - remain bunched on 29 points and within striking distance of the leaders. The trio all face away ties this matchday, setting the stage for an exciting day's action.
Player to watch: After grabbing all three of Urawa's goals in their midweek victory over Tokyo Verdy, all eyes will be on Marcus Tulio Tanaka in his side's clash with Kawasaki Frontale.

Other leagues
In Russia, leaders Rubin Kazan will put top spot on the line with their trip to Terek Groznyi, while Amkar Perm, just a point behind, head into their meeting with Zenit St. Petersburg optimistic about their chances of taking pole position. Elsewhere, there are two standout games on matchday 3 of the Austrian Bundesliga: LASK Linz, with two wins from two, welcome Austria Vienna, while Rapid Vienna go in search of their first win of the season against Austria Karnten.

Last, but not least, there will be a game to savour in Côte d'Ivoire's top flight this weekend, when SOA welcome Stella d'Adjame to Yamoussoukro. The home side currently lie in third behind Africa Sports and ASEC Mimosas but, with the leading two not in action this weekend, they will be hoping to take full advantage and close in on top spot.