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Dublin: 22 °C Friday 25 July, 2014

Euro Vision: 4 continental games not to be missed this weekend

Bayern will be tested by Bayer, Serie A leaders Roma travel to the San Siro and Barca look to maintain their lead at the top.

Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling and and Bayern's Dante last season.
Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling and and Bayern's Dante last season.
Image: Frank Augstein/AP/Press Association Images

Bundesliga: Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich

Saturday, 5.30pm

BAYERN MUNICH AND Bayer Leverkusen will be brimming with confidence when they meet after successful midweek European outings.

Champions League holders Bayern thrashed Manchester City 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday to continue their hugely positive start to life under Pep Guardiola. On the same night, and on home soil, Leverkusen were also successful, but they were made to sweat by Real Sociedad, only securing a 2-1 win over the Liga side in the 92nd minute.

Domestically, today’s meeting at the BayArena represents third against second, with Leverkusen sitting just a point behind their visitors after a good start of their own. Both sides are in the midst of fine runs in home league games, but each of their last defeats on home soil came against each other.

Sami Hyypia’s men have won all of their home games, bar one, since a 2-1 reverse to the Bavarians in March. Philipp Wollscheid’s own goal in the 87th minute did the damage on that day after Simon Rolfes had cancelled out Mario Gomez’s opener.

On TV? BT Sports 1

Serie A: Inter Milan v Roma

Saturday, 7.45pm

Roma’s newly-acquired Serie A title credentials face their first serious test when Rudi Garcia’s team visit in-form Inter Milan.

In the final weekend of league action before a break for World Cup qualifiers, second-placed Napoli host promoted Livorno while champions Juventus host Milan in one of two potentially gripping late games on Sunday.

When former Lille coach Garcia took over Roma at the start of the season the initial aim was to start strongly and erase the memory of a seventh place finish last season.

However, the French coach and Roma have gone one better, grabbing the league’s attention after winning all of their first six games to top the table with a two-point lead over Napoli and champions Juventus.

Inter sit fourth, a further two points back, having enjoyed a positive start to the campaign under former Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri.

As matches go, it could be the highlight of the weekend — Roma have hit the net 17 times and conceded only one while Inter have scored 16 and shipped only three.

On TV? BT Sports 1

La Liga: Barcelona v Valladolid

Saturday, 9pm

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Messi will sit this one out. Credit: Emilio Morenatti/AP/Press Association Images

Barcelona will look to maintain their perfect record in La Liga this season when they host lowly Real Valladolid.

Gerardo Martino’s side have won all seven of their league fixtures so far, scoring 24 goals and conceding just five. By contrast their visitors lie 16th in the table with just one win to their name, a 1-0 home victory over Getafe at the end of August.

Valladolid have suffered defeat against Barcelona in each of the last seven league meetings, conceding 23 goals in the process, while they last tasted victory in this fixture with a 2-1 home success in October 2002.

The hosts will continue to be without Lionel Messi, who is out for two to three weeks with the hamstring injury that he sustained in win at Almeria shortly after scoring his 11th goal of the season.

On TV? Sky Sports 4

Ligue 1: Marseille v PSG

Sunday, 8pm

Monaco may have emerged as Paris Saint-Germain’s main rivals in the Ligue 1 title race this season, but the biggest game for the reigning champions is still against their bitter old foes Marseille.

The clubs meet at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday night in the fixture that the French have come to call the ‘Classique’.

The mega-rich title-holders from the capital will be guaranteed their usual warm welcome in the Mediterranean port city, home to arguably the most passionate fans anywhere in France.

As it stands PSG trail Ligue 1 leaders Monaco on goal difference while Marseille are a point further back in third.

There is plenty of incentive, then, for Elie Baup’s side to continue their impressive record at home to PSG down the years.

OM have lost just one of their last nine home meetings with the club from the capital, with that 4-2 reverse coming in October 2008.

However, Marseille’s recent record has been rather patchy, with just two wins from seven games since the beginning of last month, and they come into the clash off the back of a chastening 3-0 defeat away to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday.

On TV? BT Sport 2

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