Bundesliga: Bayern Munich v Mainz 05
BAYERN MUNICH RETURN to Bundesliga action hosting Mainz 05 with coach Pep Guardiola having warned his stars to accept his future decisions in the hunt for silverware.
Having gone 33 Bundesliga games unbeaten, Bayern are closing in on Hamburg’s league record of 36, set in January 1983, but Guardiola has told his squad to tow the line.
Traditionally a strong mid-table side, Mainz have had an erratic start to the season, winning their first three league games then losing their next four before drawing with Hoffenheim a fortnight ago.
Bayern midfielder Mario Goetze scored for Germany in Tuesday’s 5-3 win over Stockholm and is back in contention for selection after an ankle injury.
Goetze is hoping for an appearance against Mainz after a long lay-off having damaged his ankle after returning from April’s hamstring injury at the start of the season.
(The Sweden game) was important for me after so long out,” said Goetze. “How long I will play for against Mainz is down to the coach.
“I’m just looking forwards and am excited about the future — hopefully without injury.”
On TV? Delayed coverage on BT Sport at 10pm
La Liga: Real Madrid v Malaga
Both Barcelona and Real Madrid will be boosted by the return of Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale this weekend as both sides prepare for a vital week in their season.
The two will clash in the first El Clasico of the season at the Camp Nou next weekend and must also negotiate huge Champions League ties in midweek as Real host Juventus and Barca travel to face AC Milan.
A return to league action comes first though, with Madrid welcoming Malaga to the Santiago Bernabeu, whilst Barcelona are away to Osasuna.
The Catalans are sitting pretty atop La Liga, alongside Atletico Madrid, five points clear of Real having won all eight of their league games so far.
Indeed both Barca and Atletico have the chance to match Real’s league record nine wins to start the campaign from the 1968/69 season on Saturday.
Real have the chance to temporarily cut the gap at the top to two points as they play first on Saturday afternoon against an improving Malaga side.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men have been far from impressive despite winning six of their eight league games to date, thanks in large part to last minute winners away to Elche and Levante.
Although not expected to start, Bale should feature at some stage as he continues to recover from a thigh injury which kept him out of the games against FC Copenhagen and Levante.
On TV? Delayed coverage on Sky Sports 3 at 11pm.
Serie A: AC Milan v Udinese
Balotelli is struggling for fitness. Credit: Gregorio Borgia/AP/Press Association Images
AC Milan sit 12th with a 13-point deficit to Roma and host Udinese in Saturday’s late game with concerns over striker Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli was set to return from a three-game ban but may now be sidelined due to a right thigh injury.
With Barcelona on the Champions League horizon on Tuesday, the setback could not come at a worse time for Massimiliano Allegri’s side, who have garnered only four of a possible nine points in their last three league encounters.
Milan’s woes were compounded by a shock 3-0 defeat to French Ligue 2 side Caen in a friendly last weekend, a result which infuriated club bosses and prompted a lockdown at their Milanello training ground as of Thursday.
“It was the coach’s decision but one endorsed by the club, so no players complained,” Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani told Milan Channel.
“When the results are lacking there is usually a reason and we have to root it out.”
On TV? BT Sports 1.
Ligue 1: Lyon v Bordeaux
Lyon and Bordeaux go into tomorrow’s meeting at the Stade Gerland both keen to improve on their current positions.
The sides sit 14th and 15th respectively with Lyon coming into the game on the back of being hammered 5-1 by Montpellier while Bordeaux recorded a 4-1 win over Sochaux last weekend.
On TV? BT Sports 2